Amazon’s fraught relationship with the traditional publishing industry was on full display this past week as publishing CEOs took the stand during the DOJ/Apple e-book trial. (See this post for background on the trial).
Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster (disclosure: I work at CNET, which is owned by CBS, which also owns S&S. Opinions here are my own) and David Shanks, CEO of Penguin (disclosure: my publisher. I am a walking conflict of interest!!) essentially accused Amazon of being a bully during their testimony, even as, it must be said, Amazon eventually caved to their terms.
Many publishers and agents make no secret in public and private about their fear of Amazon and what they view as its monopolistic status (see agent Andrew Zack’s recent post as an example).
I have never really shared this fear, either when I was an agent or now as an author. I’ve long felt that the industry’s fear of Amazon is knee-jerk and distorts its perspective, leading to bad decisions (such as, well, alleged collusion).
What’s your view of Amazon? Is it a rapacious hyper-capitalistic company that will destroy us all or an impressive innovator on the side of consumers? Is it a positive challenger or a destroyer of ecosystems?
What do you think?