What makes the dispute between Amazon and Hachette different is that Amazon’s tactics have no obvious consumer benefit, a key antitrust consideration.
The group “deplores any attempt by any party that would seek to injure and punish innocent authors — and their innocent readers — in order to pursue its position in a business dispute. We believe that such actions are analogous to hostage-taking to extort concessions, and are just as indefensible.” — Gail Hochman, president of the Association of Authors’ Representatives
What kind of entity in a competitive market would willfully drive customers into the arms of its competitors unless it believes it doesn’t really have any competitors? Can you imagine Best Buy refusing to deliver for a period of weeks what’s available from its competitors? But Amazon behaves as though they’re the only game in town. And increasingly they are. It’s a head-scratcher why anyone with regulatory authority would tolerate it. If this is not an example of untoward power, I don’t know what is. — Scott Turow, a Hachette author and former president of the Authors Guild and a lawyer.
As a reader, I enjoy low prices but I don’t want prices so low that the authors finally decide it’s not worth it and quit writing.