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出版商要扩张要做大规模 方能抵御亚马逊“OD体育官方网站”


本文摘要:Inefficiency is not a quality usually associated with Amazon but Jeff Bezos’s company is behaving as if it is a small, disorganised bookstore that cannot quite control its stock. “You want that book, do you? Very sorry but we have run out. We can order you another copy but they are taking a long time to arrive at the moment. How about buying another title instead?”“陈旧”与亚马逊(Amazon)一般来说沾不上边,但杰夫贝索斯(Jeff Bezos)的这家公司现在却展现出得像一家的组织恐慌、库存掌控不力的小书店。

Inefficiency is not a quality usually associated with Amazon but Jeff Bezos’s company is behaving as if it is a small, disorganised bookstore that cannot quite control its stock. “You want that book, do you? Very sorry but we have run out. We can order you another copy but they are taking a long time to arrive at the moment. How about buying another title instead?”“陈旧”与亚马逊(Amazon)一般来说沾不上边,但杰夫贝索斯(Jeff Bezos)的这家公司现在却展现出得像一家的组织恐慌、库存掌控不力的小书店。“你想要卖那本书是吗?说什么,库存没货。


我们可以为您预约一本,但要花上很长时间才能送往。要不卖本别的书吧?”It is a ruse, of course. When Amazon tells its US customers that The Silkworm, the new novel by Robert Galbraith, a pseudonym for JK Rowling, is “currently unavailable”, it is not telling the truth. What it means is that it is not making the book available for preorder because it is published by Hachette, from which Amazon is trying to force discounts. 这当然是骗人。

亚马逊告诉他美国顾客,罗伯特加尔布雷思(Robert Galbraith,JK罗琳(JK Rowling)的笔名)的小说新作《蚕》(The Silkworm)“目前无货”,说道的不是实话。亚马逊的现实意思是,它会预售该书,因为这本书由Hachette出版发行,而亚马逊正在企图被迫该出版社获取优惠。

This is the moment publishers have feared since they lost an antitrust case in the US and Europe last year. “They were concerned that, should Amazon continue to dominate the sale of ebooks to consumers, it would start to demand lower wholesale prices,” wrote Denise Cote, the US district judge. She ruled that the publishers had conspired with Apple to raise book prices in its store.出版商们自从去年在美国和欧洲赢一桩反垄断官司以来,之后对这种场景忧心忡忡。“它们担忧,如果亚马逊之后独占电子书的销售,它将开始拒绝减少批发价格,”美国地区法官丹尼丝科特(Denise Cote)写到。她裁决,出版商与苹果(Apple)合谋提升苹果商店里的电子书价格。By forming a blatant cartel, the “big six” publishers and Apple botched their effort to resist Amazon’s dominance of ebooks with the Kindle. It made the strangest antitrust cases of recent years – the US government and the European Commission rushing to the aid of an emerging monopolist. 因为构成的同业联盟过于过明目张胆,“六大”出版商和苹果在抵抗亚马逊通过Kindle独占电子书的斗争中马失前蹄。


此案沦为近年来最怪异的反垄断案件之一——美国政府和欧盟委员会(European Commission)居然缓着去协助一家正在兴起的独占企业。Mr Bezos once suggested that Amazon treat small publishers “the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle”, wrote Brad Stone in The Everything Store, his corporate biography. Hachette is one of the smaller big five – reduced from six by the Penguin-Random House merger – and is vulnerable.布拉德斯通(Brad Stone)在亚马逊公司传记《一网打尽》(The Everything Store)中写到,贝索斯曾明确提出,亚马逊应像“猎豹追赶羸弱的羚羊羚”那样对待小出版商。Hachette是“五大”(原本为六大,因为企鹅(Penguin)与兰登书屋(Random House)的拆分而增加为五大)出版商中较小的一家,更容易受到亚马逊的冲击。I have mixed feelings about Amazon. Mr Bezos has created a remarkable company whose devotion to pleasing customers and cutting prices puts competitors to shame. It reimagined what retailing should be like, not just by putting it online, but by making it easier. 我对亚马逊爱恨交加。

贝索斯创立了一家出众的公司,它对符合顾客和加价的执著令其竞争对手汗颜。它新的塑造成了,不仅构建了在线零售,还让零售显得更加便利。He also cut through the fumblings of rivals such as Sony in creating the Kindle. It did not overtake the Sony Reader and the Nook merely because of Amazon’s marketing power and manufacturing efficiency. It is a superior device and is linked to a brilliant (when Mr Bezos lets it work) online store. 贝索斯还打造出了Kindle,从索尼(Sony)等竞争对手的僵硬产品中脱颖而出。

Kindle之所以多达索尼阅读器和Nook,不只是因为亚马逊的营销能力和生产效率。Kindle性能优越,并与杰出的在线商店(当贝索斯让其长时间运转的时候就是杰出的)相连接。Despite its current tactics, Amazon has been a profitable partner to publishers – bringing innovation to a business of custom and practice. “Amazon is the publishers’ best account. It offers tremendous volume with no returns [of unsold books] and preordering helps them put their books on bestseller lists on day one,” says Mike Shatzkin, a consultant.虽然目前采行了不友好关系的策略,但亚马逊仍然能为出版商建构可观的利润,为一个以规矩和惯例闻名的行业带给创意。

顾问迈克沙茨金(Mike Shatzkin)回应:“亚马逊是出版商的最佳客户。它销量极大,会退款(并未卖出书籍),并且可以通过预售让出版商的书从第一天就攀上畅销书排行榜。”But it is disturbingly ruthless, with a hardly disguised ambition to force other suppliers and intermediaries – including publishers and bookstores – out of business. It is a machine for squeezing margins,including its own, to near-zero in order to cut prices.但亚马逊的高傲令人不安,它也表露出自己的雄心:将其他供应商和中间商——还包括出版商和书店——吸管这块业务。亚马逊变为了一台机器,为了缩减价格,将利润(还包括它自己的)断裂到相接近于零的水平。

These margins include not only publishers’ profits but royalties and advances to authors, which have been falling. “This is a punitive, vindictive, vicious anti-culture company,” says Andrew Wylie, the authors’ agent. “If it doesn’t like the way negotiations are going, it punishes the publishers and readers. I don’t understand why this is not subject to legal redress.”这不仅还包括出版商的利润,还包括作者取得的版税和预付金——这些收益也在上升。“亚马逊是一家严苛、小气、恶毒、反文化的公司,”作家经纪人安德鲁威利(Andrew Wylie)回应,“如果它不讨厌谈判的南北,之后惩罚出版商和读者。


我不解读这种不道德为何没被绳之以法。”There lies Amazon’s advantage – it need not form a cartel to squeeze its suppliers because it is already large. With a 30 per cent share of the physical book market in the US and more than 60 per cent of ebooks, it clearly has market power in the antitrust sense. But there has never been a case in US competition law of a single company being declared an illegal monopsonist. 这是亚马逊的优势所在——它不必须构成同业联盟来榨取供应商,因为它的规模早已够大。亚马逊占有了美国纸质书市场30%的份额和电子书市场逾60%的份额,从反垄断的角度来说,它毫无疑问具备市场权力。

但在美国反垄断法的历史上,未曾有分开一家公司被宣告为非法买方垄断者的案例。“In the US, the simple use by one company of monopsony power to extract lower prices from suppliers is not illegal. There is general intuition that buyer power means lower prices and lower prices are good,” says Jonathan Jacobson, an antitrust lawyer at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich Rosati in New York.“在美国,一家公司利用买方独占使供应商减少价格,不包含非法行为。

一般的观点是,买方权力意味著低价,而低价是不利的,”纽约威尔逊桑西尼古奇罗沙迪律师事务所(Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich Rosati)反垄断律师乔纳森雅各布森(Jonathan Jacobson)回应。Amazon may be breaking the law with a deceptive sales practice – telling its customers that Hachette books in the US (and Bonnier books in Germany, where it is waging a similar campaign) are “unavailable”when they can be bought quickly from its competitors. In terms of antitrust law, however, the biggest force in books is secure.亚马逊的欺骗性销售手段有可能违法——它告诉他顾客,Hachette的图书在美国“无货”(还有邦尼(Bonnier)的图书在德国也是如此——亚马逊用于了某种程度的手段),但顾客却能在竞争对手那里轻而易举地购买。

不过,就反垄断法而言,亚马逊这家图书领域的龙头企业是安全性的。There is a moral for publishers: get bigger. Penguin has merged with Random House (Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times, holds a 47 per cent stake in Penguin Random House), and HarperCollins has just bought Harlequin, one of the biggest independents, for $415m. The remedy to market power is to bulk up.出版商汲取的教训是:要做到大规模。企鹅早已与兰登书屋拆分(英国《金融时报》母公司培生(Pearson)享有企鹅兰登书屋(Penguin Random House) 47%的股份),哈珀柯林斯(HarperCollins)刚以4.15亿美元并购仅次于的独立国家出版商之一Harlequin。

对付市场权力的毒药是扩展规模。The question is less who wins the contest between Amazon and publishers than what benefits the reader and author (I am both, having had books published by Penguin Random House), and wider society. Amazon has done some things for the public good – the ability of any writer to self-publish on the Kindle platform aids freedom of expression and the spread of ideas. 主要问题不是谁夺得亚马逊和出版商之间的对决,而是什么能让读者、作者和全社会获益(我既是读者又是作者,企鹅兰登书屋出版发行过我的书)。亚马逊为公共利益做到过一些好事——任何作者都可以在Kindle平台上出版发行作品,这可以增强言论自由,增进思想传播。It is hard, though, to see the public benefit in Amazon treating book publishers as just another bunch of suppliers, like the makers of toys or garden furniture. For now margins on ebooks remain high, offsetting the squeeze on hardbacks, but Amazon’s intent is clear. If it turns publishing into a lossmaking business, the profession of writing will suffer.然而,亚马逊将图书出版商作为普通供应商(如玩具厂商或花园家具厂商)对待,很难说对公共利益有什么益处。


目前,电子书利润率仍然较高,因此填补了纸质书所不受的榨取,但亚马逊的意图是具体的。如果它将出版业变为一种亏损的行当,文学创作这个职业就不会无一幸免。The irony is that publishers’ efforts to set book prices themselves and treat Amazon as an agent were legal; it was the cartel that undermined them. The solution in US law is to grow into giants themselves. So much for craft industry.嘲讽的是,出版商企图自行为图书定价,将亚马逊当成代理商对待的希望是合法的;让它们损毁的是同业联盟。根据美国法律,它们的决心是自己茁壮为巨头。




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