SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix is probably hoping a book about its early history never gets made into a movie.
The book, “Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs,” tries to debunk a widely told tale about the company's origins and paints a polarizing portrait of its star, CEO Reed Hastings.
Set to go on sale Thursday, the book arrives at a pivotal time for Netflix Inc. The video subscription service is still recovering from a customer backlash triggered by Hastings' hasty decision to raise U.S. prices by as much as 60 percent last year.
Investors remain leery of Netflix as its expenses for Internet video rights steadily climb.
The book, written by veteran journalist Gina Keating and published by the Penguin Group, draws its insights from interviews with Netflix's lesser known co-founder, Marc Randolph, and other former employees.
Keating illuminates the competitive gauntlet that Netflix had to navigate to get where it is today. The book also dishes up juicy morsels about various negotiations that could have reshaped Netflix.
According to the book, Hastings and Randolph flew to Seattle sometime in 1998 to meet with Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos. The topic of discussion: a possible partnership.
At one point, Hastings proposed that Amazon buy Netflix, only to be disappointed when Bezos offered a mere $12 million.
Netflix spokesman Jonathan Friedland told The Associated Press that the Amazon anecdote was “totally untrue.” Amazon declined comment.
Although the book sometimes casts Hastings in an unflattering light, Keating remains convinced he is the main reason that Netflix was able to transform home entertainment.
“I hope that people recognize he is a genius,” Keating said in an interview with the AP. “There is no question in my mind that there is nobody like this guy. Wall Street and naysayers are wrong to bet against this company, especially as long as he is in charge.”