Friday Discussion: Is Amazon Killing Literature By Selling Tons Of Books?
Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild, has responded to the news that the Justice Department is getting ready to sue Apple and five of the Big Six publishing houses, charging that they colluded over eBook pricing (which they did--check out my story on it here).
Turow's letter is interesting. What's more interesting is a dissection of that letter, by self-publishing advocates J.A. Konrath and Barry Eisler. It's long, but it's very much worth a read.
One of the most interesting conceits raised by the letter is Turow's claim that Amazon is attempting to kill bookselling by discounting the price of books. Eisler wonders how selling more books is really killing bookselling. Burn!
On one hand, there's a strong argument to be made that Amazon is killing bookstores. But even then, I don't know that Jeff Bezos has a hit list on his wall so he can better plot the systematic destruction of every physical bookseller in America. His company is just utilizing a better, smarter distribution method. Welcome to capitalism. I'm not thrilled about it--I work out of an indie bookstore--but maybe everyone should stop complaining and start adapting?
What do you think? Are Eisler and Konrath right? Or are they unfairly harping on Turow? Is Amazon evil, or opportunistic? Is there even a difference?!
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