I’ve run across a number of stories recently that suggest the business world is rougher than the academic world. (Picture Glenn Okun saying “Duh!”) Today’s example is Amazon, which is reportedly giving the Hachette Book Group a hard time while they negotiate price. From the Times: “Amazon is holding books and authors hostage on two continents by delaying shipments and raising prices.”
What do we make of this? I consulted my colleagues, who tell me:
- Amazon is a tough competitor.
- There’s nothing specifically illegal about this unless Amazon is a monopoly — and it’s not.
- We love books and tend to have some sympathy for publishers. But they’re not essential to having a good selection of books, any more than record companies are essential to having lots of music around.
- If you’re thinking about a career in publishing, think again.
Matt Yglesias gives a great overview with links to more.