Popular Authors Call For Government Investigation Into Amazon

Amazon logo displayed at a press conference in New York.
Amazon logo displayed at a press conference in New York.

And the attack on Amazon continues…

Popular authors like Malcolm Gladwell, Ursula Le Guin, Michael Chabon and Ann Patchett compiled a letter attacking Amazon’s “monopoly hold on the book world” and is asking the US Department of Justice to conduct and investigation in their business practices.

Authors United, a group that was created after the Amazon vs. Hachette debacle last year, wrote this letter that will hopefully be delivered at the end of this month. Here is more from The Guardian:

“We are authors with a deep collective experience in this field, and we agree with the authorities in economics and law who have asserted that Amazon’s dominant position makes it a monopoly as a seller of books and a monopsony as a buyer of books,” runs the letter, going on to claim that “in recent years, Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of (and generate fear among) many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society”.

The authors are calling for the justice department’s antitrust division to investigate Amazon, suggesting that the online retailer “has blocked and curtailed the sale of millions of books by thousands of authors” in order to pressure publishers, and has “extract[ed] an ever greater share of the total price of a book from publishers”, resulting in “publishers dropping some midlist authors and not publishing certain riskier books, effectively silencing many voices”.

The letter is backed by missives from the Authors Guild and the American Booksellers Association, the New York Times reported. “As with our author colleagues, we are concerned that the mega-book-retailer Amazon.com has achieved such considerable market power with such questionable business tactics that it is undermining the ecosystem of the entire book industry in a way that will be detrimental, especially to midlist authors, new authors, and minority voices,” wrote both the president and the chief executive of the ABA in a letter to the justice department printed by the paper.”

If you would like to read the full letter, you can find it here.

To read the full Guardian article, click here.

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