The Horsemen’s Gambit vs. Amazon’s

The Horsemen's Gambit, by David B. CoeThe Amazon – Macmillan snarl couldn’t have happened at a worse time for David B. Coe, a fantasy author of long standing with Tor, a Macmillan imprint. Coe has two books coming out this month. The final installment of his Blood of the Southlands trilogy will be published in hardcover in a couple of weeks, and the second book, The Horsemen’s Gambit, is being issued in paperback today, February 2, 2010. The trouble is, even if you’re a loyal fan of Coe and a regular customer of, you can’t buy the book from Amazon as of this moment (1:57 a.m. EST).

The B2B dogfight became public last Friday, when Amazon stopped selling almost all Macmillan titles in order to demonstrate its displeasure with Macmillan’s efforts to alter the terms under which Amazon presently sells the publisher’s ebooks. There’s been plenty of debate over which company is the tail and which is the dog and who’s standing on the Left Coast taking bets. Folks, book publishing doesn’t often get this rowdy. And frankly, the folks in publishing don’t do rowdy with much panache.

Meanwhile in Tennessee, an author waits impatiently for the clash to end. Coe is a blogger I’ve followed ever since I tiptoed onto the Web, because he was one of the first to leave a comment or two on my site. He always posts thoughtfully, he’s endlessly gracious about answering questions, and he’s a genuinely nice guy. On top of that, people like his books. Messing on his launch is just wrong.

So, if you have a moment, wander over to Coe’s blog, An Exchange of Words, and exchange a few words of support. Check out the free sample chapters on his website. Remember that his new paperback is available through the Store, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, and Borders. If you’re a bookseller and you’re stocking it and I didn’t list your store, feel free to post a link in my comments section, as long as it’s not an affiliate link (prohibited by

Reviews of The Horsemen’s Gambit can be found at BookLoons and Fantasy Book Critic.

Extensive discussions of the Amazon – Macmillan dispute can be found at Tobias Buckell’s blog, at Kobo’s blog in a post written by Michael Tamblyn, and at Publishers Marketplace.

I’ll provide an update here when I’m aware that Coe’s books have become available to purchase once again at Soon, I hope.

UPDATE: As of 9:19 p.m. EST, on Friday, February 5, 2010, Amazon was offering the new mass market paperback version of The Horsemen’s Gambit for sale through its website at the same price as the Store. The other online retailers’ prices for the book were about 10% lower when I checked earlier this week, but shipping charges and customer reward programs might offset the differences in price. The Kindle ebook version is currently unavailable for purchase.

2 Replies to “The Horsemen’s Gambit vs. Amazon’s”

  1. Thanks so much for the support, Robin. Even in today’s market, amid all the talk of midlist authors being squeezed out, the vast majority of published authors remain “midlist”. In essence, we’re the authors who sell enough books to keep writing, but not enough to become nationally or internationally known brands (like Stephen King, James Patterson, JK Rowling). We don’t have a lot of influence, and so when titans clash, as in the present case, and we get caught in the middle, we’re basically helpless. But when readers make their voices heard, the big boys do listen. This is why Amazon has started to capitulate in this battle. Hopefully, they’ll soon restore the “buy” buttons to my work. But they haven’t yet…

    Again, many thanks to you and your readers.


  2. Hi, David:

    A lot is at stake for existing businesses, which leads to the rationalization of collateral damage in this situation. I’d be willing to bet the same theme runs through many of your books.

    More disruption lies ahead in 2010 than we can imagine, but what doesn’t destroy us makes us stronger and wiser, and sometimes even happier. Good luck! I’ll be watching your blog for updates.

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