Given that it’s responsible for 65% of new book purchases online, Amazon’s well-documented bullying tactics are taken as a fact of life in the publishing world. Authors, especially new and mid-list writers, live and die by their Amazon rankings and sales. And with the increasing lack of competition from other booksellers, consumers are losing other options for acquiring books, which has unsettling implications for the future of ideas. The New Yorker went so far as to publish a long exposé earlier this year asking whether Amazon is good for books. (Spoiler alert: It says the answer is no.)
We’re fighting this battle on a lot of fronts right now. ISPs threaten a fundamental principle of the Internet because they’re not willing to improve their own infrastructure, while prices remain high and service generally stinks. Studies find that Wal-Mart stores can actually depress local economies and replace jobs at lower wages with fewer benefits. Sprint promises “a major price war” if it successfully merges with T-Mobile, but regulators get nervous all the time about deals that eliminate competition. We can’t even seem to prioritize species survival over agribusiness.
Mic, June 6, 2014