Newsflash—Amazon Isn’t Evil After All

Photo Courtesy of Jason Scragz via Creative Commons
[Evil Monkey]Thanks to our friends over at Authors United, there’s been a lot of back-and-forth about Amazon’s business practices as they relate to bookselling. Apparently, the kerfuffle began with the tense negotiations between Amazon and Hachette and has escalated to a letter from Authors United to the DOJ, demanding that they investigate the monopoly that is Amazon.

For the record, I agree with Joe Konrath. These folks appear to be a bunch of “whiny little babies” who are not at all pleased with the direction bookselling has taken—especially concerning independent publishing. Thanks to Amazon, readers are—wait for it—saving money on books. How dare Jeff Bezos put his customers first! And also thanks to Amazon, indie authors like me get a chance to be heard without relying on traditional publishers.

Rather than rehash the debate, I thought I would provide a couple of links. Enjoy!

Joe’s Letter to the Assistant Attorney General
“For the past fifty years, a handful of big publishers have functioned as a cartel, controlling the majority of what has been published. They did this by having an oligopoly over paper distribution. If a writer wanted to get their work into a bookstore, the only way to do so was to sign a contract with them.

“My best guess is that out of every 1000 books written, only 1 was published. That meant 999 out of 1000 books were effectively deep-sixed, prevented from ever reaching the public.”

A Message from the Amazon Books Team
“The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.” They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.”

Authors United founder says Amazon’s control of the book industry is “about the same as Standard Oil’s when it was broken up”
“Amazon is like any other corporation; it has two goals. One is to increase market share, and the other is to increase profits. So anyone who thinks that Amazon is their friend is deluded. Is Exxon the friend of everyone who fills up their tank with gas? I don’t think so. Anti-trust laws are to prevent the natural growth of companies to grow to a monopoly status, and then use that monopoly power to stifle competition. And that’s what Amazon has been doing.”

Hugh Howey on Author’s United Letter to the DOJ: “I think it’s hilarious!”
“Amazon has done more good for literature than any other organization in my lifetime. They make books available to people without bookstores nearby, and at great prices. And they pay authors nearly 6 times what publishers do.”

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4 thoughts on “Newsflash—Amazon Isn’t Evil After All”

  1. Steve,
    I’m inclined to agree with you and Joe and Huey and even the Amazon Books Team. I know that many traditionally published authors take issue with this, but I remember when television and the Internet both became huge, common wisdom was that people would become illiterate–no need to read or write. But the opposite has happened. More people than ever are both reading and writing. And that’s because there’s a cheap supply for readers and a venue for writers. And yes, the big publishers that once were so many have been reduce to 5–talk about a monopoly. I don’t have all the answers, or even all the insights, but I do support Amazon because so far they have supported me (even if it is to make a profit on their end).

    Thanks for sharing this round-up of opinions.

  2. I have no love/hate relationship with Amazon. I have a respect relationship. Amazon provides a platform. I use it. Sometimes I upload to KU, sometimes not. All depends upon sales.
    I don’t expect Amazon to be my best friend. Amazon is a business and I expect them to do whatever is in the best interest of their business. I’m tagging along for the ride. So far so good.

  3. The big publishers wouldn’t give a horror author like me a chance. Thanks to Amazon, I can write the stories the way I want to and have them available for anyone to download. I can’t thank Amazon enough and I will be publishing my books on kindle for years to come.

    1. Derek, thanks. Although I am toying with the idea of exploring traditional publishing, I pretty much feel the same as you. Good luck with all your endeavors.

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