i keep getting stuff in my inbox asking me to sign various anti-amazon petitions, or sharing letters from people vowing to boycott, etc. i guess they're trying to get an author's movement going. but, first, i think the only authors really being hurt are the top twenty or something, and when i say 'top twenty' i mean people arbitrarily anointed into greatness in our insufferable little prestige pecking order literary world. i don't think prestige pubs like hachette or knopf or whatever actually do much of a service to literature: i think they are by and large a bunch of pretentious twits and that the whole thing is primarily about parties and status.
most authors can't even get to the point of submitting to a publisher like that: you need an agency and so on: it's like publishing novels is a mere hierarchy, a celebrity culture with added pseudo-seriousness (kind of oriented traditionally around high-end booze, cocaine, and who's fucking whom), and i am less impressed than many with the quality of the result. it's like a rotted aristocracy to which one is absurdly required to bow, and if that world is in danger, i'm happy about it. i don't think many people make a living writing books in this world, or ever did, so i don't see these as public resources of some kind. i want to point out that anyone can publish basically anything they want on amazon and charge whatever they think is fair or effective. i say that actually is a public resource.
also, hachette can take care of itself, and i tell you that the big pubs will reach an equlibrium with amazon. it's just a corporate dispute, like if gm was wrangling with its steel suppliers. it's not really worth worrying about. i take more seriously the way amazon is constantly squeezing small publishers, and i would hope that when they reach their modus vivendi with the big boys that that helps the smaller fry.
what hachette is fighting for is higher prices for ebooks. say you read ebooks. why would you want that? and it is quite relevant, as amazon argues, that it is cheap to produce and distribute an ebook. that makes publishing far more available to more people, and it has the potential to make books more accessible to larger audiences. and yet you're going to fight for absurd mark-ups and price-fixing cabals?
the disintegration of the recording industry has been a service to music, i believe. those five labels that controlled everything were utterly miserable, and they made most of their artists utterly miserable, and they created whole sahara-like eras of bad yet extremely expensive pop. and again, to fight for them on creative grounds was to fight for the top 7.2 pop artists, who needed no help anyway and were raking in millions, while almost no one else on the creative end really could access an audience for their recordings, or make a living as recording artists.