SPECTRE's heavy-handedness continues to raise hackles and alarms, but now on two continents. As noted by Melissa Eddy and David Streifeld in the NYTimes, "It is using some of the same tactics against the Bonnier Publishing Group in Germany."
Their article also raises an important point: "The Authors Guild accused the retailer of acting illegally: 'Amazon clearly has substantial market power and is abusing that market power to maintain and increase its dominance, which likely violates Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act', said Jan Constantine, the Guild's general counsel.'"
"'How is this not extortion? You know, the thing that is illegal when the Mafia does it', says Dennis Loy Johnson, of Melville House, echoing remarks being made across social media."
"The press doesn’t seem to consider this newsworthy, but there is a war going on between Amazon and book publishers. This war involves money of course, and though I have an opinion, I’m not here to comment on what might be a fair and reasonable settlement.
There are other significant issues people might want to consider. Currently, Amazon is making it difficult to order many books from Little, Brown and Grand Central, which affects readers of authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, Nicholas Sparks, Michael Connelly, me, and hundreds of others whose living depends on book sales. What I don’t understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers. It certainly doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of authors.
More important—much more important—is the evolution/revolution that’s occurring now in publishing. Small bookstores are being shuttered, book chains are going out of business, libraries are suffering enormous budget cuts, and every publisher—and the people who work at these publishing houses—is feeling a great deal of pain and stress. Ultimately, inevitably, the quality of American literature will suffer.
If the world of books is going to change to ebooks, so be it. But I think it’s essential that someone steps up and takes responsibility for the future of American literature and the part it plays in our culture. Right now, bookstores, libraries, authors, and books themselves are caught in the cross fire of an economic war. If this is the new American way, then maybe it has to be changed—by law, if necessary—immediately, if not sooner."
"'Like all repressive regimes, Amazon wants to completely control your access to books,' fellow Hachette author Sherman Alexie, who is based in Seattle, said in a Twitter post."
Their aritcle ends with this:
"One of the books made scarce by Amazon's actions is an updated edition of Brad Stone's The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.
The book revealed how Bezos said Amazon should approach vulnerable publisher for better terms 'the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.'
'What irony', said Stone, a former New York Times reporter. 'A book detailing Amazon's heavy-handed tactics in business negotiations becomes, at least in a small way, a victim of those tactics.'"
SPecial Executive for Counter-Intelligence Terrorism Revenge and Extortion
We did not choose this term to refer to Amazon lightly; we chose it because it fits.
From the Wikipedia page on SPECTRE: "Fleming's SPECTRE has elements inspired by mafia syndicates and organised crime rings that were actively hunted by law enforcement in the 1950s. The strict codes of loyalty and silence, and the hard retributions that followed violations, were hallmarks of U.S. gangster rings, Mafia, the Unione Corse, the Chinese Tongs/Triads and the Japanese Yakuza/Black Dragon Society."
Preditory business practices to get special deals on discounts. Heavy-handed tactics. Extortion.
Retribution and revenge? The Book Industry Is So Scared of Amazon, No One Will Talk on the Record
The fictional SPECTRE was bent on world domination, power, and wealth at the expense of all others.
Aren't you glad nothing like that could really exist?