Is Amazon’s Book Monopoly a Threat to Freedom of Expression?

Is Amazon’s Book Monopoly a Threat to Freedom of Expression?Who amongst you has not anteed up for a book from Amazon? Admit it: even those of you who dream of publishing your own book have spent money at Amazon buying ebooks or printed books for less than any competitor could afford to sell them.

This ability to undercut all competitors and monopolize the market is just what authors, publishers, lawyers and regulators gathered to discuss at the end of January in Washington, D.C., and their words are important to carry forward this year.

“Amazon’s Book Monopoly: A Threat to Freedom of Expression?” presented at New America, a nonpartisan think tank, explored the impact of Amazon’s monopoly on publishing and ideas in America.

Much more.

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Lee Child: Why We Should Worry About Amazon’s Bookstores (Guardian)
For most books and most people most of the time, the biggest spur to purchase is actually seeing an actual book in a physical place. For most people most of the time, reading is a take-it-or-yawn-leave-it activity. Books are not quite distress purchases, but neither are they exciting enough for enthusiastic online hunting.

The Best Podcasts for Writers (Written Word Media)
What better way to stay close to your craft than by listening to a podcast about writing and publishing while you’re on the move? Here are the best podcasts for writers, listed in alphabetical order, as vetted by the Written Word Media Team. Yes, this means we listened to them all to make sure they were deserving of your valuable time.

After Eight-Year Slump, 2015 Bookstore Sales Rise (PW)
Bookstores sales rose 2.5 percent in 2015, marking the first time since 2007 that sales in the sector were up. According to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau, total bookstore sales in 2015 hit $11.17 billion, up from $10.89 billion in 2014.

Europe’s Book Taxing Dilemma (Pub Perspectives)
We’ve been alerted to the European Parliamentary Research Service’s briefing out this month, “Ebooks: Evolving Markets and New Challenges.” This report is timed, of course, to coincide with the coming reconsideration of VAT tax implications for ebooks in Europe. To the dismay of many, the European Commission’s stance on ebooks is that they are classified for tax purposes as digital products, not as books per se, and thus they are, in most countries of the EU, taxed at a substantially higher rate.

Three Ways Publishers and Libraries Can Work Better Together (PW)
The relationship between publishers and libraries is not as acrimonious as it was back in 2012, when a few holdout publishers still refused to license ebooks to libraries. Instead, the relationship feels to me like it has settled into that hallmark stage of a bad marriage—bitter

Simon & Schuster Has Strong Finish to Year (Pub Lunch)
Simon & Schuster built on a small gain in the third quarter for a big gain in the fourth quarter that lifted full-year sales just above the previous year, by $2 million. Fourth quarter sales of $233 million were $18 million (or 8 percent) ahead of the same quarter a year ago, “driven by growth in print book sales.” CEO Carolyn Reidy told us sales in the quarter were up across all units, with adult book sales up 10 percent, children’s books up 8 percent, and audio up 23 percent.

10 Years of IPG’s Independent Publishing Awards (Pub Perspectives)
For a 10th year, IPG’s Independent Publishing Awards will recognize the work of UK independent publishers and offer a business boost for the winners.


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