My family loves books, and we probably own enough of them to start a small library. Because we rarely go more than a few weeks without making a book purchase, Amazon.com has been bookmarked on our computer browsers for years, and we have long enjoyed the special discounts and easy access we find there.
But as eDitmore Editorial Services has taken me deeper into the publishing world, I am becoming more aware of Amazon’s “dark side” and of the questions and controversy surrounding its pricing schemes for both print and electronic books.
This past week, the Justice Department publicly accused Apple and several publishers of conspiring to fix prices on electronic books. Ironically, any such agreement was most likely made in an attempt to combat Amazon’s market domination and questionable pricing practices. Apparently what Amazon is doing has crossed no legal lines, even though its practices of continually demanding bigger and bigger discounts from suppliers are striking fear into the world of publishers, writers—and editors.
I don’t begin to understand Amazon’s actions or motives enough to try to explain or expound upon them. But David Streitfeld does a great job at providing an overview in this New York Times article.
And who can resist his opening, “Plenty of people are upset at Amazon these days, but it took a small publishing company whose best-known volume is a toilet-training tome to give the mighty Internet store the boot.”
Check it out for a well-written overview of a complex situation.