New York Times: Dispute Between Amazon and Hachette Takes an Orwellian Turn

Late Friday, Amazon unveiled Readers United, and encouraged e-book buyers to email the chief executive of Hachette, whose address was helpfully provided.

In introducing the group, Amazon made the same arguments it has been making in the last few weeks: e-books need to be cheaper and Hachette is robbing readers by preventing this from happening. It also provided a list of recommended journalism on the topic — a very selective list.

Amazon should be careful waging a public relations war against publishers and writers. A Goliath never will get any sympathy when he fights a David.

For readers who are not quite sure exactly what to write to Hachette, Amazon included a list of talking points. The first one is, “We have noted your illegal collusion,” always an ice-breaker in these sorts of chats.

Amazon, you have (or have had) near monopoly power in the eBooks market. Perhaps the publishers felt the need to collude to counter the unrivaled power of a monopolist?

The retailer argues that people against e-books are against the future, and talks about how the book industry hated cheap paperbacks when they were introduced in the 1930s, and said they would ruin the business when they really rejuvenated it.

I find a major flaw in Amazon’s argument; somehow I doubt that paperbacks were originally sold below their cost as Amazon is currently doing with eBooks.

Amazon might want to reconsider
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