Authors United Asks DoJ to Investigate Amazon

Authors United has made a formal request to the Department of Justice (DoJ) that it investigate Amazon for monopolistic practices and anti-competitive behavior.

The group has been pushing this case for some time, along with a number of other groups representing authors and publishers, arguing that Amazon controls a giant share of the ebook market and that it has been using this power for evil instead of good.

In a letter that Authors United sent to the DoJ recently supporting its request, the group laid out the core of its argument and the key point that the case will hinge on: the group says that even if Amazon’s behavior leads to lower prices for books, this shouldn’t be the Department’s only concern. Instead, the regulator should look at how Amazon’s anti-competitive tactics affect society as a whole.

According to Fortune, though, the antitrust claim is doomed, as “judged by almost any objective measurement, Amazon’s monopoly has been far more of a benefit for both writers and readers than it has been a hindrance, and it certainly has been for book buyers. And that’s what the Justice Department is going to focus on.”

Much more.

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NYT Reporter Jodi Kantor Discusses Amazon Article (GeekWire)
In an interview with GeekWire, one of the authors of the New York Times’s recent expose of Amazon’s white-collar working conditions discusses the piece. “One thing that I really struggle with, in the course of doing these stories,” Jodi Kantor says, “is that there seems to be parts of the stories that people see, and parts of the stories that people don’t see.”

Amazon Fire TV Is More Popular than Apple TV (Business Insider)
Amazon’s Fire TV set-top box is more popular than Apple TV, according to a new survey. Roku, however, still leads the digital streaming space. Market research firm Parks Associates looked at general media device sales in the United States over the past year and found that Roku, Google, Amazon and Apple accounted for 86 percent of the overall market. Of those four brands, the firm notes that Roku (34 percent) and Google’s Chromecast (24 percent) dominated the market in 2014.

Scribd Limits Monthly Audiobook Service (Digital Reader)
Sribd announced on its blog that starting September 20th, it will limit its audiobook service. Listeners will be able to listen to one book per month for $8.99, and additional audiobooks can be purchased through credits for $8.99. Scribd currently offers unlimited audiobook listening for $8.99 a month. According to The Digital Reader, “rather than just draw in paying customers, Scribd attracted the type of customer it does not want — those who would use the service as it was intended by consuming as much content as they can.”

Why One Successful Writer Decided to Self-Publish (PW)
One successful writer discusses why he decided to self-publish a book of essays earlier this year rather than stick with this traditional publisher. Warren Ellis, author of New York Times bestseller Gun Machine, thought his publisher probably wouldn’t be interested in “a ragtag collection of talks I’ve given in basements and sheds across the Northern Hemisphere.” In fact, his editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux was supportive of the decision.

Novelist Writes Book That Requires an App (Guardian)
In a piece for The Guardian, novelist Iain Pears describes why he wrote a novel—with 10 separate story strands—that required an app to understand it. “I undertook the project because I had reached the limit of my storytelling in book form and needed some new tools to get me to the next stage,” Pears writes.

How Magazines Can Compete with Web (Wired)
One writer discusses the importance of cover design for print magazines’ ability to compete in an increasingly digital world. “Unorthodox cover designs are even more important to the survival of traditional print magazines now that digital platforms and products are pushing them into the margins,” Steven Heller writes. The continual barrage of images on our devices means print magazine covers should be “economic in form, big in idea, and understood at a glance” to compete with digital publications, according to an artist quoted in the piece. Most, however, are not.

One thought on “Authors United Asks DoJ to Investigate Amazon

  1. Frumious Bandersnatch

    I’m uncertain why they aren’t focusing on the fact that Amazon sells those eBooks in a proprietary in-house file format that is incompatible with any other brand device. If that isn’t anti-competitive and a detriment to consumers, I’m not sure what is.



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