Stay Silent and Soon Amazon Will Be Telling the World What It Can Read

From the Sunday Times UK: (subscription required after third paragraph, but there's enough there to get the gist of this opinion piece by historian and author Amanda Foreman).

"One of the greatest monopolies in history was the medieval Catholic Church. Its religious and temporal power was absolute until confronted by an even more potent rival: the printed book. Today, print is once more at the centre of a cultural revolution. Only this time it is not the challenger to a global monopoly but its most successful weapon.

Amazon, founded and controlled by Jeff Bezos, used the humble book to leverage itself into becoming the world’s largest online retailer. It took 20 years for Amazon to emerge as a monopolistic power. Last week, by creating an effective blacklist of authors for use as a bargaining tool against Hachette Book Group, the company showed us how far it would go in its abuse of that power."

"Amazon's real attitude to the book industry was revealed in its public statement last Tuesday. This referred to books as 'demand-weighted units.' They are not. A customer looking for Tolstoy's War and Peace won't buy Talshoy's Peace and War because it is cheaper. Despite what Amazon would like us to believe, Tolstoy's book has value, the other simply a price."

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>>subscription required after third paragraph, but there's enough there to get the gist of this opinion piece by historian and author Amanda Foreman)

I like the irony. None of us is going to pay that newspaper for the content so we will need to make due with the first three paragraphs. Then we are shocked that Amazon is kicking butt by operating in a very cost conscious manner. Clearly the cost of content is very important to people.

Since I have not read the whole article I do not know the ultimate conclusion arrived at. But it would seem the gist of the article is that Amazon is a bad monopolist and that people should buy books from other sources. Okay go do that. The Amazon haters seemed very concerned whether Hachette books are on Amazon. Seems odd to me that people that don't want people to use Amazon are concerned with what books Amazon sells. If Amazon does not sell Hachette books then people can buy them somewhere else. Isn't this what the Amazon haters want?

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