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Thread: Authors will fire back at Amazon with calls for a government investigation

  1. #1

    Default Authors will fire back at Amazon with calls for a government investigation



    If you've been following the protracted war between Amazon and Hachette, you know that Amazon's been stymieing sales of certain books by making it impossible to pre-order them, and pushing back delivery of others all over a e-book contract dispute. The situation isn't really even about Hachette any more -- the New York Times notes that few of the hundreds of signers of a recent open letter to Amazon's board of directors are even published by the French firm. It's about something more fundamental. Those authors (or at least a decent chunk of them) now plan to call on the Department of Justice to formally investigate Amazon for monopolistic activity.

    To quote recent signer Ursula K. LeGuin, the big issue at stake here is censorship -- "Amazon is using censorship to gain total market control so they can dictate to publishers what they can publish, to authors what they can write, to readers what they can buy. This is more than unjustifiable, it is intolerable." By trying to squeeze certain unlucky authors out of the sales charts by dint of their publisher, Amazon has riled up an incredibly savvy, literate, smart group of people who know how to use their voices -- not exactly the sort you'd want to make enemies out of. Last we heard, the final draft of the letter (which will be sent to the head of the department's antitrust division) should be done -- now we've got to wait for everyone to sign it.

    http://www.engadget.com/2014/09/29/a...ce-department/
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  3. #2

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    Well from a cursory reading of the arguments from here: http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/25/a...tte-explainer/ It seems as though Hachette is pissed and trying to force Amazon into running its business in a manner that benefits Hachette while they are going the way of the print industry. So Hachette is wanting to use the government to cut themselves a better deal rather than working with Amazon or pulling out from that market. After reading the bit about the way Hachette manipulated the situation through their collusion with Apple (along with other publishers), I am hardly sympathetic to their argument.

    People will go where the material they need or want is available. Hachette would probably have a bit more leverage if other options were anywhere near as inexpensive and consumer friendly as the Amazon Kindle reader.
    We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. - Dakota


    Go Forward With Courage

    When you are in doubt, be still, and wait;
    when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.
    So long as mists envelop you, be still;
    be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists
    -- as it surely will.
    Then act with courage.

    Ponca Chief White Eagle

  4. #3

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    Amazon grinds suppliers to keep its competitive edge, and publishers are no exception. It claims that reduced e-book prices actually result in higher sales and more money for all the players, not less. The online giant further argues that high e-book prices are unjustified since publishers have no printing, returns, resales and warehousing to deal with. It believes high prices are hurting the book industry, which must compete against video games, movies, television and other rival forms of entertainment. That was where it quoted Orwell, who said in the 1930s that publishers should "suppress" the new menace of paperbacks (he was joking).
    If e-books were significantly less expensive than print books, I would probably end up getting a kindle. as it is, I generally buy USED print books from amazon.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by specsaregood View Post
    If e-books were significantly less expensive than print books, I would probably end up getting a kindle. as it is, I generally buy USED print books from amazon.
    I think the $9.99 price point is too expensive for what you have to show for it, but the upside is that you can have it on a number of devices at once which comes in handy with some books and homeschooling. So I weigh out my options. I own a fairly good sized print library and they have taken up a good amount of real estate in the house. Went through a phase where I needed a number of htf books and they were dissolving with use and costing a fair amount to replace so was able to get a considerable digital library for the homeschool use at a ridiculously cheap price and got some devices to read them on. Am moving back to embrace printed books, though, as my husband builds me different bookshelves in unused spaces in our home.
    We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. - Dakota


    Go Forward With Courage

    When you are in doubt, be still, and wait;
    when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.
    So long as mists envelop you, be still;
    be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists
    -- as it surely will.
    Then act with courage.

    Ponca Chief White Eagle

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by moostraks View Post
    I think the $9.99 price point is too expensive for what you have to show for it, but the upside is that you can have it on a number of devices at once which comes in handy with some books and homeschooling. So I weigh out my options. I own a fairly good sized print library and they have taken up a good amount of real estate in the house. Went through a phase where I needed a number of htf books and they were dissolving with use and costing a fair amount to replace so was able to get a considerable digital library for the homeschool use at a ridiculously cheap price and got some devices to read them on. Am moving back to embrace printed books, though, as my husband builds me different bookshelves in unused spaces in our home.
    They do take up real estate and they are a PITA to move. But as it is, last I checked the ebooks were usually almost the same price as the new printed books. If I'm gonna pay almost the same price then in general I want something physical. Of course the downside to the publishers/authors is that I can buy most of the print books used cheaper than new ebooks or new print. I think amazon is correct that lower prices on ebooks will actually create more sales and more profit. I'd argue that a new book would be most competitive if it was priced around the same as used print books.






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