Scott Turow Calls Amazon ‘Darth Vader’

In an op-ed on today about the Department of Justice investigation into Apple and the “agency five” for e-book price fixing, president of the Author’s Guild Scott Turow compared Amazon with a modern personification of pure evil, Darth Vader (Apple Antitrust Suit Would Aid Amazon Book Monopoly):

Looming over this whole discussion is, of course, Inc. (AMZN), which I consider the Darth Vader of the literary world. I admire its success in creating a new, wildly successful business model, but it has a deserved reputation as a frequently unscrupulous competitor. Last December, for example, Amazon infuriated retailers for products such as electronics and DVDs when it encouraged its customers to enter brick-and-mortar stores to gather pricing info on items that Amazon then promised to sell them at a discount.

When it comes to books, Amazon has often used its huge market power to further increase its influence. Some analysts project that Amazon will own more than half the U.S. book business across all formats by the end of this year. Not only does Amazon have 75 percent of the market in online sales, but it is spreading its tentacles to other areas. It now owns, the largest seller of downloadable audio books, and BookSurge, an on-demand printer of self-published and other books offered only by publishers as individual copies. Last May, Amazon announced it was launching Amazon Publishing, headed by the redoubtable industry veteran Larry Kirshbaum, to compete hand-to-hand with the publishers.



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