From the Huffington Post:
“Three independent bookstores are taking Amazon and the so-called Big Six publishers (Random House, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) to court in an attempt to level the playing field for book retailers. If successful, the lawsuit could completely change how ebooks are sold.
The class-action complaint, filed in New York on Feb 15., claims that by entering into confidential agreements with the Big Six publishers, who control approximately 60 percent of print book revenue in the U.S., Amazon has created a monopoly in the marketplace that is designed to control prices and destroy independent booksellers.”
Not that I think they have a snowball’s blah blah blah. Let’s face it–Amazon and Bezos have money to burn on little lawsuits like this one. The large publishers, probably not as much dough to put forth with lawyers keeping the suit in court forever, but enough to enable Amazon to continue to control how e-books are sold. It’s infuriating to think that this online superstore can tell a reader like myself, that I don’t own the book I buy from them–no, they still own it in reality, since if I decide I hate my kindle, because the books loaded on the thing cannot be transferred to any other kind of digital reader. So, you see, unlike that new paperback from B&N or the hardcover from Mysterious Galaxy, I don’t own it to sit and read in my bathtub, then give to a friend, or trade into a used bookstore. Bezos and the publishers have made a deal only unto themselves while little indies are choked out of the profits from what everyone keeps claiming is ‘the future.’
It’s the future alright–and that future doesn’t include brick and mortar stores. Not any, not even what I used to consider The Evil Empire–when B&N pushed indies under. This is capitalism at its nastiest. Don’t get me wrong–I believe in capitalism, I don’t believe in monopolies, and Amazon has been one far too long. I truly believe that we are doomed to an existence of just two merchandise outlets in the future–the physical gargantuan Walmart, and the online monolith, Amazon. That’s it, that will be the entire wasteland of buying goods. One huge Walmart stretching down the entire East Coast, and Amazon the only business online. We can choose to enter the portals of the Walmart greeter and have our mile long receipts checked, or plod through page after page of suggestions by the ever helpful Amazon robot, ‘Here Diane, are some suggestions for you based on your last searches and purchases.’ Sorry, I use you like a library–I check out what the titles are, synopsis’, and price, then I go to bookfinder to find a comparable copy that is in no way associated with you. You are most helpful, in this manner. Perhaps you could remain a info source if by some miracle these indies win their suit and clean your suit. One can but dream of the day when monopolies such as Amazon are a thing of the past. Funny, I thought we had dealt with this issue around a hundred and ten years ago–like, under Teddy Roosevelt? He carried a big stick and literally took all that power away from those few families that owned the US and the people in it. Unfortunately, the Teddies of the world no longer exist. And we are stuck with the Bezos’ that think they have the right to dictate, yes, dictate to the populace how they read. Not me. As long as paper is still printed with words and then bound, I’ll avoid this problem entirely. I only wish the rest of the reading public would do the same, if only in protest against the power mongering policies of the big publishers and their cohort, Amazon. Whoops, that suggestion makes me a backward neanderthal, unwilling to walk into the glorious future of digital words on a computer screen. Yep. And proud of it.