Amazon v Hachette

David Streitfeld in the New York Times business section has a long, even-handed look at the latest battle between Amazon and its various enemies — this time the 4th largest publishing group in the U.S, Hachette.  If you’ve been puzzled about the issues and who is lining up behind what, and why, this will clear it up.  Where Streitfeld doesn’t help in understanding the stakes is the lack of history — what the Amazon model has already wrought– and lack of reasoned forecasting — what are the fairly predictable outcomes of monopoly control (even if loose) of book publication and distribution.  As in many great shifts in social institutions there will be those who benefit and those who don’t

As the lead example in the article shows, some winners will be writers. The temptation being offered by Amazon — of higher royalties– seems like a good thing for all.  Enormity, however, has quite predictable dangers.  When writers are all bondsmen to one master the master will decide who to make and who to break.

Amazon, A Friendly Giant as long as It’s Fed

As for myself, I use these book distributors when ever possible

Alibris

Since launching in November 1998, we’ve grown to become the Internet’s largest independently owned and operated marketplace. That’s more than ten years of doing the following:

  • Supporting thousands of independent sellers

ABEBooks (Whoops, I just read this is a subsidiary of Amazon. No more for me.)

Powell’s Everybody’s favorite Indie in Portland, OR.

City Lights The famous San Francisco store. Won’t have the wide reach of Alibris, but always worth stopping by.

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