[Marxism] As Publishers Fight Amazon, Books Vanish - NYTimes.com

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat May 24 08:43:06 MDT 2014

I don't consider myself well-versed enough in Marxist economic theory to 
be overly assertive about this, but it strikes me that Amazon 
exemplifies the irrationality of capitalism. Amazon has yet to show 
sizable profits but continues to destroy businesses left and right, from 
bookstores to publishing houses, from old time brick-and-mortar stores 
like Best Buy and Sears. Jeff Bezos's main inspiration is Walmart, a 
corporation that has hollowed out much of small town America. Every step 
made in the direction of achieving his ultimate goals seems to be one 
also calculated to pushing profits downwards.



Amazon’s power over the publishing and bookselling industries is 
unrivaled in the modern era. Now it has started wielding its might in a 
more brazen way than ever before.

Seeking ever-higher payments from publishers to bolster its anemic 
bottom line, Amazon is holding books and authors hostage on two 
continents by delaying shipments and raising prices. The literary 
community is fearful and outraged — and practically begging for 
government intervention.

“How is this not extortion? You know, the thing that is illegal when the 
Mafia does it,” asked Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House, echoing 
remarks being made across social media.

Amazon is, as usual, staying mum. “We talk when we have something to 
say,” Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive, said at the 
company’s annual meeting this week.


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