Amazon Is ‘Evil’ According to Digital Minds Conference Opening Keynote

“Amazon are evil bastards–I loathe them, I fear them,” said best-selling British author Anthony Horowitz, giving the opening keynote speech at the London Book Fair’s Publishing for Digital Minds conference in London, quickly adding, “but I use them all the time because they’re wonderful and that’s part of the problem.”

Referring to Amazon’s dominance in the book and ebook retail market and the low rate of taxes it pays in the UK (just a few million pounds on over £4 billion of revenue, according to Horowitz), the author of dozens of books was setting the stage for day of speeches, panels and networking at the pre-London Book Fair conference for digital publishing executives. Little subtlety was used, evidenced by his candid remarks regarding Amazon.

He described the decline of physical bookstores in the U.S. and UK, headlining with the demise of the Borders chain in the U.S. He also described the swift rise of ebooks, primarily in the U.S. and described it as an “opportunity” for the book publishing industry to greatly expand its audience and to reach a new generation of readers.

Horowitz also spent time talking about the precarious position many publishers find themselves in, their business models being disrupted by the rise of self-publishing and the changing retail landscape. Despite knowing that he could get a higher percentage of sales from his current books if he left his publisher, he said that he needed the support — editing, packaging and marketing and distribution strategy. He also thanked his publisher for sticking with him through his early, less profitable years as an author.

Horowitz went on to speak passionately about the decline of libraries, especially school libraries, where learning a love of reading begins, he said. And he called on the several hundred British, European and international publishing executives in the room to embrace digital publishing and support reading as a whole, because without a populace that loves reading, publishers will find it harder to be profitable.


4 thoughts on “Amazon Is ‘Evil’ According to Digital Minds Conference Opening Keynote

  1. Dick Hartzell

    To the anonymous DBW journalist who filed this story, a corrective:

    “Amazon are evil bastards–I loath them, I fear them.”

    He doesn’t loath them; he loathes them. The verb is “to loathe”, as in “I loathe them, I fear them.” The adjective is “loath”, as in “I am loath to pay my taxes on April 15.”

    Please make a note of it. Generally I loathe having to post comments like these.

    1. Kg

      Chill out. I hate the people who feel the need to correct everything.You obviously knew what they ment so why bother correcting it.

  2. Jeff Wignall

    Oh, pity the poor traditional publishers. Let’s get the crying towel out for them. If they hadn’t been screwing writers with hideous contracts forever they wouldn’t have lost all of their best writers (including myself) to self publishing. Instead of getting 8% of an undefined low net writers can now get 70% of retail sales from Amazon. I’ve actually had my traditional publishers tell me that production costs were higher for ebooks than for print books! Liars, liars, liars! Legacy publishers are getting what they deserve: a day in bankruptcy court. Good riddance.

  3. Virginia Llorca

    Okay. That settles that. Now, our self-pub industry feels threatened by the illiterate schlubs and the low pricing that threaten our credibility. We have “credibility”. Yay.



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