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Why is Amazon Bullying Book Publishers?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Reed Saxon/AP Photo)
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Reed Saxon/AP Photo)

 

(The Week) – “Amazon is confirming its critics’ worst fears,” said Farhad Manjoo at The New York Times. While the online retailing giant “has marketed itself as a book buyer’s best friend,” the company’s escalating dispute with publisher Hachette is revealing its true colors.

“In an effort to exert pressure on Hachette,” Amazon has started using some “hardball tactics,” raising prices on Hachette titles, removing preorder buttons for upcoming books, and even increasing shipping times from a few days to weeks. Critics have long feared the impact on publishers, authors, and customers once Amazon monopolized the book industry, and now Amazon is “walking right into its detractors’ predictions.”

But it won’t be long before the retailer’s tactics backfire, inviting bad PR, “scorn from the book industry,” and perhaps more government oversight. And then there’s the cardinal sin: upsetting customers. While Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos “has long pointed to customer satisfaction as his North Star,” his actions of late look like those of a man who puts the bottom line above customer service.

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