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Is Amazon a “Monopoly” (Or Is The Publishing Industry Too Loose With Its Words)?

In the ubiquitous, and increasingly annoying, coverage of the Amazon–Hachette dispute, it’s common for those who side with Hachette to assert that Amazon is a “monopoly” without really understanding what that word means.* One example is Steve Wasserman’s… 539 more words


sandvick reblogged this on DailyHistory.org and commented:

Today, the Chronicle of Higher Education has an article by Jennifer Howard about how university presses are forced to tread carefully with Amazon. While Amazon boosts sales, it is also extremely difficult for small university presses to negotiate “over e-pricing and other issues.” As the largest seller of books, it is not surprising that Amazon accounts for approximately a third of most university press sales. Additionally, Amazon makes it easy for scholars to get books especially difficult to quickly get even from university libraries. More than one scholar has ordered a book from Amazon instead of waiting for an interlibrary loan. Still, university presses are intimidated and somewhat overwhelmed when they negotiate contracts with the massive online retailer. Presses are expected to agree to discounts, pay money to Amazon to get their books promoted, and accede to e-book prices that work for Amazon. University presses have little choice deal with Amazon very carefully. Unlike Hachette Book Group, university presses are incapable of challenging Amazon the same way. [caption id="attachment_1745" align="alignnone" width="259"]Will this destroy book publishers? Will this destroy book publishers?[/caption] This dovetails nicely with this post at that the Misfortune of Knowing that asks whether Amazon is a monopoly. Hachette Book Group is currently negotiating with Amazon over discounts demanded by the retailer to sell their e-books. Publishers have thrown around terms like monopoly and monopsony when describing Amazon. A.M.B. argues that in the Hachette case, Amazon appears to be neither a monopoly or a monopsony (a buyer that is powerful enough “force suppliers to start discounting against another.”) In many ways, university presses face the same pressures as Hachette, but they have fewer options. Ultimately, Hachette will probably be forced to agree to Amazon’s demands because there are fewer and fewer alternatives to Amazon everyday. [caption id="attachment_1853" align="alignnone" width="300"]Remember what these little guys did to the record business? Remember what these little guys did to the record business?[/caption] One of the most interesting aspects of the growing rift between publishers and Amazon is it highlights how publishers essentially ceded control of the publishing business to Amazon and Apple. Publishers no longer control the technology of books because they never created a Kindle or successful e-reader of their own. It was the booksellers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple) that created e-readers instead publishers. Instead of selling hardware (books), publishers are now in the software business (e-books). When they lost control of the hardware that books are read, they lost the ability to control their own fates. In many ways, the publishers dilemma is identical to the predicament faced by the music business. Unfortunately, publishers are probably facing a similar future to the record companies unless they take control of their businesses.


Like every writer, sometimes the ideas are there, percolating in my mind, but I completely lack the means to articulate them in a clear, cogent way. 149 more words

Tracing Brazil's legal history

Four years ago the world championship for soccer in South Africa gave me a perfect occasion to look at some online resources for the legal history of South Africa and other African countries. 2,958 more words

Legal History

Are You Really Pro-Life?

About two weeks ago, Nicholas P. Carfardi of the National Catholic Reporter, wrote a brief opinion piece and asked who was more pro-life, Obama or Romney?  1,797 more words

Health Care

sandvick reblogged this on DailyHistory.org and commented:

pro-life Today's Sunday "Blog" from the Past is by Cheryl Lemus from Nursing Clio which was written during the height of the 2012 Presidential campaign.  In the post, she asked what it meant to be pro-life.  She suggested that being pro-life is more than just opposition to abortion. As part of the post, she highlighted a column written by Nicholas P. Carfardi of the National Catholic Reporter that argued that Barack Obama was more pro-life than Mitt Romney.  Carfardi focused on Romney's financial investments in companies that profited from abortions and contraceptives.  This same type of issue was recently brought up regarding Hobby Lobby.  While Hobby Lobby was suing the federal government to  prevent its employees from being offered 4 different types of contraceptives in their medical insurance, Hobby Lobby's 401k plan invested in the same companies that make these products.  It highlights an interesting divide between conservative and liberal activists.  Liberal activists have always been strong proponents of consumer boycotts and demands for divestment, but conservatives appear to use these tactics less frequently. Students on college campuses have vigorously pushed university endowments to divest from various companies on political grounds.  In May, Stanford University’s endowment committee voted to sell shares in coal mining companies due to climate change concerns.  Since Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a "slut," liberal activists have contacted and convinced many his long-time advertisers to sever their relationships to his show. It is strange that social conservatives have not been as pro-active on this front.  While Hobby Lobby was willing to sue the government to avoid providing specific contraceptives to their employees, they either never bothered to check or did not care if  they were invested in the companies producing these contraceptives.  This suggests liberals and conservatives approach activism very differently.

Bill Moyers: What is the United States Supreme Court's Agenda?

Bill Moyers has posted two videos where he interviews Linda Greenhouse, a New York Times columinst, and Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor at Slate, about the motivations of the Roberts Court.   102 more words

Daily History

Samuel Spencer (c. 1734 - 1794) Homesite and Cemetery

Traveling back from the beach this weekend, I forced my wife and dog to endure something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, which is to find, and then visit, the homesite and resting place for one of my favorite deceased North Carolinians, Judge Samuel Spencer. 794 more words