Bad, this is.
While the bookseller and publisher are battling over mundane business specifics, the state of publishing hangs in the balance.
Over the past several months, what started as a quiet trade dispute has intensified and become public as the largest bookseller in the world, Amazon, and one of the biggest publishers, Hachette, battle over their next contract.
The dispute is about money, but the outcome—whether Hachette gives up on pricing and pays a little more for marketing, or not—is about so much more. Amazon equated Hachette with its other suppliers in its statement: “At Amazon, we do business with more than 70,000 suppliers, including thousands of publishers. One of our important suppliers is Hachette….” Hachette doesn’t feel the same way, according to its response to the Amazon statement: “By preventing its customers from connecting with these authors’ books, Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good.” But, it added, “They are not.”
Phi Beta Iota: Amazon is discounting humans and ideas. Amazon could be the hub of the world brain and leverage top authors, reviewers, and readers (all geo-located) to create a virtual public intelligence agency.