Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed

by Rachel Baker on July 14, 2014

The latest of stories about Amazon – who by the way is winning the PR war, just by staying in the news. Publishers are dealing with this quietly; while Amazon is all over the news cycle.

This is a great article to read to understand a bit of the more intricate details of what’s been going on. here’s a hint: It talks about Hachette’s success in the digital book industry, and says this is due, in large part, to the kindle.

Its really difficult to know “who’s” side to take in this. On the one hand, publishers DO want to hike up prices on books that don’t actually have the same overhead as even a mass market paperback. On the other hand, Amazon has used a negotiation tactic that allows for Hachette books to have a longer shipping schedule. And then, there is that whole monopolizing the book (and rest of the) world, causing job loss and closures in the brick and mortar book store world.

:sigh: I go back and forth, and really, I don’t know what the right answer is.

From household names to deeply obscure scribblers, authors are inflamed this summer, perhaps more deeply divided than at any point in nearly a half-century. Back then, it was the question of being a hawk or dove on Vietnam. Now it is not a war but an Internet retailer and its unparalleled grip on the cultural machinery that is provoking fierce controversy.

At first, those in the publishing business considered Amazon a cute toy (you could see a book’s exact sales ranking!) and a useful counterweight to Barnes & Noble and Borders, chains willing to throw their weight around. Now Borders is dead, Barnes & Noble is weak and Amazon owns the publishing platform of the digital era. The company founded and still run by Jeff Bezos dragged the publishers into modern times, forced them to digitize and urged on the Justice Department in its 2012 antitrust suit against the publishers and Apple. The conflict is unrelenting.

The latest struggle between publishers and Amazon burst into public view two months ago, after the company began seeking concessions on book sales from Hachette, the fourth-largest publisher, which Hachette was unwilling to give. Amazon sought to get its way by delaying delivery of Hachette books, which roused Hachette’s authors. At this point, Hachette is losing sales and Amazon is reaping a considerable amount of bad publicity.

Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed

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