Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

June 18, 2014

Revisiting The Amazon/Hachette Giant Monster Battle From The View Of The Folks Running In The Street

I rarely agree with Laura Miller's colums and I'm sure by the time my post has rolled out recommending this article, the prose book industry and its thinkers and fans will be three or four steps into a back and forth trashing and/or praising its specific points. I still recommend it, though, for the broader arguments made because I think it's some of the broader points that we'll keep with us after this particular fight gets settled. There are two here I think worth noting: the first is that whatever the eventual outcome's merits for the publishers and readers, Miller argues that self-publishers would benefit more significantly from publishers keeping their preferred price point because it gives them room to compete. That's cynical, but it's not a point I would have considered on my own. The second is more of a passing allusion that the tactics employed by Amazon are certainly tactics that can be employed in the future against whatever segment of the book industry that isn't doing what they feel is in their best interest. That's something I believe in very strongly.

As always, I hope that people are seeking as wide a picture as possible, and that it's not always about one segment benefiting over another; the overall health of the system plays into things as well: the best art, the ethical maximization of profits in a way that encourages more and better creation, those things are industry-wide consderations, not segmented. That particular wedge should give you enough in the way of a skeptical view to read any of the Amazon/Hachette articles, including this one.
posted 11:45 pm PST | Permalink

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