Over the summer, as Amazon and Hachette clashed on e-book pricing levels, calls were heard for the federal government to undertake antitrust action against the e-retailing giant. Distraught booksellers and outraged intellectuals alike have challenged the Department of Justice to take on Amazon as a monopolist, even as publishers look the other way.
“The Seattle Times ran a story that had tongues wagging this week, as it basically said that making an antitrust case against Amazon will be very difficult,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. “Well, no kidding. No one outside the pundit circuit really wants Amazon to be invaded by the feds.”
In a “be careful what you wish for” moment, publishers have steered clear of such talk, as the Apple e-book case taught them what it means to have the feds come calling. “Amazon is the publishers’ biggest customer,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “The quickest way to bleed jobs from the industry and hurt authors would be to invite the federal government to regulate Amazon.”
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.