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Internet giant Amazon and big publisher Hachette Book Group are in a bitter dispute over e-book pricing and it is getting dirty. We’ll look at what it means for readers, for writers and the book business.
Gigantic Amazon controls a huge portion of all book sales in America now, and right now it’s using that power “bare knuckles” with one of the country’s biggest book publishers, Hachette. If you’re looking for the latest from J.K. Rowling or James Patterson or Stephen Colbert on Amazon, good luck. The Internet giant is playing real hardball in negotiations over who gets what in e-book sales. At one level, it’s just business. At another, it’s about how the Internet can concentrate power, in this case in the realm of books – ideas. This hour On Point: Amazon versus the publishers, and the future of ideas in America.
-- Tom Ashbrook
From Tom's Reading List
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Goes Back to Publishers on Prices — "Two years after three major book publishers settled a major civil antitrust lawsuit with the federal government, the Justice Department has gone back to the publishers asking about any recent pricing discussions they may have had with others in the industry, say people familiar with the situation."
Reuters: Amazon/Hachette dispute unlikely to provoke regulators, experts say — "The U.S. government's unwillingness to stop Amazon.com from using hardball tactics in fights with book publishers has angered book lovers but antitrust experts say regulators are unlikely to intervene in what appear to be business disputes. Amazon has delayed the delivery of some Hachette Book Group titles and even removed an option to pre-order 'The Silkworm,' by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith. "
New York Times: Amazon Absorbing Price Fight Punches — "Hachette is the first big publisher to enter talks with Amazon since the last round of negotiations, and book people have rejoiced watching the bully get sand — a heap of negative press — kicked in his face. Amazon, beloved by Wall Street (until recently) and its customers for putting growth and low prices ahead of profits, is getting a bit of an image makeover right now, and the results have not been pretty."
This program aired on June 5, 2014.