Douglas Preston Hosts Panel to Discuss How Evil Amazon.com Is
Posted on January 21, 2016
Authors United, founded by novelist Douglas Preston, is no fan of Amazon.com. The group has been vocal in its criticism of the online retailer, which it accuses of being a monopoly which is a threat to authors and the very fabric of American life. The group is moving forward with its plan to destroy Amazon. Its leaders had a meeting with the Justice Department to try to convince the U.S. government to go after Amazon.
The group came into being during Amazon's heated negotiations with the various major book publishers. The negotiations with Hachette were particularly difficult and at one point Hachette authors' book sales were affected. But the publishers and Amazon reached deals for their books to be sold at Amazon.com and everything returned to normal. Not all authors agree with Authors United. Many point out that their contracts with Amazon.com are much more lucrative than those propagated by the major book publishers. As for readers -- mostly they couldn't care less what Amazon or the book publishers do, so long as their ebooks don't cost too much.
Authors United has now teamed up with the New America Foundation and the Authors Guild to host a discussion panel about how awful Amazon.com is. The event is called, "Amazon's Book Monopoly: A Threat to Freedom of Expression?" will be held in Washington, D.C. on January 27th at the offices of the New America Foundation.
Publisher's Weekly got ahold of the letter sent out to possible attendees. In the letter Mr. Preston says that the Justice Department staff wouldn't say whether or not they will launch an investigation of Amazon.com,but "they took our concerns seriously." The panel discussion will address what went on at the meeting and -- presumably -- mobilize the troops for the war to come.
The discussion panel will feature Susan Cheever, Scott Turow, former New Republic editor (and New America Foundation fellow) Franklin Foer, William Morris Endeavor agent Eric Simonoff and Smashwords founder Mark Coker.
Preston said that the discussion in Washington is centered on "Amazon's enormous market power and the ways we believe it has misused that power to the detriment of authors and the book industry." He elaborated, "Our goal is to shine a light on how Amazon's monopoly, and its heavy-handed behavior, are already affecting the free flow of ideas in our society. Never in the history of our country has a single corporation dominated a vital marketplace of information -- until today."
You can learn more about the event here.