“Amazon Is Hurting America”: NY Times Columnist On Why the Hachette Conflict Goes Way Beyond Books

“, the giant online retailer, has too much power, and it uses that power in ways that hurt America.” Thus begins Monday’s ominously blunt column by New York Times regular and Nobel-prize winner Paul Krugman. Krugman, who covers the economy from a progressive perspective, does not approach the controversial question of Amazon: good or bad? as a an author with a recent book out, nor as a rabid culture consumer (although I did see him at a St. Vincent concert in Brooklyn once; shoutout to Paul Krugman’s music taste!) Instead, he’s writing as a politically-savvy economist who sees a company beginning to get out of control. And Krugman has some important thoughts about what Amazon has become so dangerous — not a monopoly, per se, but rather a monopsony. … Read More

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Amazon Publishing Goes ‘American Idol’ After Terrible Week

Imagine, for a moment, that you are Amazon. Now imagine that, in the last seven days, several esteemed authors have accused you of out-and-out censorship, the Authors Guild has met with the DOJ about your alleged antitrust violations, and, yes, you may have been responsible for sabotaging a beloved publisher of erotica. It’s been a rough week. But, being Amazon, you have $75 billion of revenue in your pocket, so how do you regain the trust of the reading public? You bring the power to the people. American Idol style. … Read More

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Ursula K. Le Guin and Other Literary Heavyweights Call Amazon/Hachette “Censorship”

In this morning’s New York Times, Ursula K. Le Guin has some strong words against Amazon, regarding the… Read More

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The Executor for George Orwell’s Literary Estate Responds to Amazon’s “Doublespeak”

Bill Hamilton, the executor of George Orwell’s literary estate, has some strong words for Amazon’s quoting of Orwell… Read More

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Does the Amazon Vs. Hachette Battle Ignore a Future Where Physical Books Will Be Extinct?

In Bloomberg, writer Leonid Bershidsky has a POV on the protracted, lengthy battle between Amazon and Hachette over e-book pricing — a battle that is being framed, at least in the media, as a sign of “the future of books.” It’s a fight that is happening for the profits that are available in the future, one that’s getting vicious as Amazon does have a 65% stake — arguably a monopoly — over the selling of e-books. Bershidsky, however, feels as if this fight is already obsolete, as the pricing of e-books between publishers and distributor(s) is something that won’t matter in the future, when our book libraries are somewhere in a cloud and no-one actually buys anything — instead, he argues, we’ll rent books from Amazon the way some people apparently rent movies from iTunes. … Read More

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A Brief History of Inappropriately Invoking George Orwell

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.” This is a quote from George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” and it could lead one to say, “Hey, you know, the way people inappropriately call things Orwellian all the time is, like, totally Orwellian!” But let’s not say that, because it would be silly. Instead, in view of Amazon’s hilarious misappropriation of an Orwell quote in its ongoing battle with Hachette, it might be more fun to take a look at a few of the many times in recent memory when Orwell’s memory has been used and abused. Take a look after the jump, but watch out for Big Brother. … Read More

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Everything Book Lovers Need to Know About Amazon vs. Hachette

Earlier this week, Amazon unveiled its latest tactic in the mega-company’s battle with Hachette, a dispute that’s become as much about PR as profit margins: transparency. A brief “update” outlines exactly how much of the proceeds from e-books Amazon wants (30 percent) and how much Amazon wants to charge for those e-books ($9.99). There are also Economics 101 buzzwords like “price-elastic” and internal numbers that claim lower e-book prices actually result in higher revenue for everyone. There is, of course, another side to this story — and a months-long dispute that won’t end because Amazon named names. Here’s the rundown on what the average book buyer needs to know. … Read More

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