Yawn, authors protest against Amazon's power

Another day, another complaint about Amazon's "unprecedented power over the book publishing market."  Only this time, it comes with a new twist.

Authors -- famous ones, in case you haven't guessed-- are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to begin an investigation on what (they claim) is a monopoly.  The Authors United group (you can't make this stuff up) has formally submitted their urgent request.  They even collected one thousand signatures for a letter directed at Amazon.  The U.S. Justice Department said that the agency "will review" the group's materials.

Ursula Le Guin laments:  "It does not seem wise to let one entity control such a big part of our emotional and cultural core."  Apparently, Ms. Le Guin believes that such matters are better controlled by a larger entity, namely the government.  I'd venture to guess that she discards the "emotional and cultural" contribution of the huge independent, self-publishing market which Amazon has helped spawn.   Presumably, that's not part of "our" core.
In case you missed the opening scenes to the drama:  Hachette decided that it didn't like Amazon's pricing policy, and went off in a tiff, so it could keep e-books priced as high as Hachette pleased.  Eventually, Hachette got its way.  Prices rose.

But did profits?  I doubt it.  I was on the road to adopting Kindle-style books...that is, until they got to be the same price as print.  I don't think a digital book is worth what a print book is. To me, it's a compromise.

Where did I turn?  I decided that many, if not most, of the books I wanted could be purchased through Thriftbooks and other sellers, used.  The Internet makes buying used books a snap. You can even filter by condition.  Before the web came along, I never bought used books.  Now, especially with rising digital book costs, I usually do.  On a per book basis, publishers earn less from me. Talk about boomerang.

Amazon can't control that, of course-- any more than Ms. Le Guin and her fellow authors can control technology.

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