Hachette Author Stephen Colbert To Amazon, Jeff Bezos: “Watch Out, This Means War”

Hachette Author Stephen Colbert To Amazon, Jeff Bezos: “Watch Out, This Means War”
[Photo by Scott Gries, PictureGroup, Courtesy of Comedy Central]

Here’s a valuable tip for any company operating in the known galaxy: Don’t get on Stephen Colbert’s bad side.

That’s especially true if you happen to be Amazon, the massive online retailer currently engaged in an escalating conflict with Colbert’s publisher, Hachette Books.

Colbert blasted Amazon on his show last night over what many perceive as strong-arm tactics–delaying shipping, denying discounts–it’s deploying against Hachette in order to secure a better profit-sharing deal. You can see Colbert’s comedic crescendo around the 3:00 mark of the video below, when the blowhard host he plays on his show borrows Amazon’s own algorithmic language to say: “Amazon, customers who enjoyed this, also bought this,” and then flashes both middle fingers. “So watch out, Bezos,” Colbert continued, “because this means war.”

Colbert joins fellow Hachette bestsellers Malcolm Gladwell, J.K. Rowling, and John Green in publicly denouncing Amazon’s actions. Green, author of the hugely popular YA novel recently adapted as a movie, The Fault In Our Stars, was a guest on Colbert’s show earlier this week.

“What’s ultimately at stake is whether Amazon is going to be able to freely and permanently bully publishers into eventual nonexistence,” Green said on the show.

For his part, Colbert is encouraging consumers to download a sticker reading “I didn’t buy it on Amazon,” and affix it to any books they buy elsewhere.

All of this could be great news for beloved indie bookstore Powell’s in Portland, Oregon. Last night Colbert urged his viewers to buy the book California by first-time novelist Edan Lepucki at Powell’s. According to the New York Times, soon after Colbert tweeted about the book and said “Together we can #CutDownTheAmazon,” Lepucki’s novel hit the top of the sales charts at Powell’s.

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