In the book world, telling horror stories about Amazon is a common enough way to pass the time at conferences and receptions. The details may vary, but the plot is the same –Amazon eats publishers for breakfast.
What dramatically changed this summer, however, is not the Amazon horror stories, but their arrival in the headlines and on the front pages. The focus currently is the war over pricing between Hachette and Amazon, though the antagonism goes well beyond the trade world.
Indeed, academic publishers are increasingly beholden to the e-retailing giant – and growing resentful.
“My fight with Amazon began when they decided to go after traditional ‘short discount’ publishers – academic presses as well as presses like ours – with a unilaterally imposed change in business terms,” Karen Christensen, CEO and founder of Berkshire Publishing, recently wrote on her company’s blog.
“Amazon is destroying competition and innovation because it is not letting the market determine winners and losers, but is instead making the selection itself,” she tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.