Saturday, April 18, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

James Patterson and others debate Amazon.com

By
From page D2 | July 06, 2014 |

NEW YORK — For a discussion titled “Amazon: Business as Usual?” panelists at the New York Public Library cited Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson and the Stamp Act of 1765. Questions were raised about the future of democracy, the manners of Silicon Valley and the consequences of religious war.

This is clearly no ordinary time in publishing.

“What’s at stake is writing,” best-selling novelist James Patterson said at a gathering last week before some 150 people, many from the publishing world. “It’s our livelihood. It’s the livelihood of our friends.”

As Amazon and Hachette Book Group remain in a standoff over issues such as revenues from e-book sales, with the online retailer restricting access to books by Patterson, Malcolm Gladwell and other Hachette authors, literary agent Tina Bennett moderated an often passionate 90-minute exchange among Patterson and five other speakers. They included publisher Morgan Entrekin of Atlantic Monthly Press, the author and net neutrality advocate Tim Wu, political theorist Danielle Allen and attorney and founder of the music download service EMusic.com, Bob Kohn.

Sympathies, both onstage and in the audience, were strongly with the publisher and traditional publishing. Panelists worried about Amazon’s growing power and that its determination to lower prices would put competitors out of business and force publishers to cut royalties, making it harder for authors to work on their books. Bennett said the negotiations between Hachette and Amazon “could change our business forever,” and likened her situation to sitting in a hospital waiting room while a loved one was being operated on.

Amazon has provided few comments on the conflict with Hachette and, according to Bennett, declined an invitation to send an official to the library Tuesday. Standing in for the Seattle-based company was David Vandagriff, an intellectual property attorney who on his blog earlier in the day had wondered if he was the only panelist not subject to “Amazon Derangement Syndrome.”

Entrekin and others spoke of publishers as indispensable patrons of literary culture, investing in books that sometimes take years to complete and taking on authors who aren’t profitable, but have something important to say. “They could make more money just publishing the kind of junk I write,” Patterson joked. Vandagriff advocated for authors (including his wife, G.G. Vandagriff) who broke from the industry and published through Amazon, saying they had more control and received much higher royalties. Patterson worried that Amazon was a danger to free expression, even invoking the image of burning books. Vandagriff praised Amazon as an innovator dedicated to its customers.

“What do the people who work at Amazon think of when they get up and in the morning?” said Vandagriff, who on his blog earlier in the day had wondered if he was the only panelist not subject to “Amazon Derangement Syndrome.” ”They are entirely, completely focused on pleasing and delighting the millions of people who shop there.”

A few groans were heard in the auditorium. Fellow speakers onstage responded.

“Are you talking about the warehouses, or the corporate headquarters?” said Patterson, referring to numerous reports that Amazon’s warehouse employees endured harsh conditions.

“Jeff Bezos, when he goes to work every day, his job is a different job,” Kohn said of Amazon’s founder and CEO. “His job is to win a winner-take-all game.”

Publishers fret even in the dullest moments, and Bennett asked each panelist to rank the current climate on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 business as usual and 5 a five-alarm emergency.

“3,” said Patterson, who has been a leading critic of Amazon among writers and believes their “religious” passion will sustain them.

“4,” said Allen, who agreed with Patterson that writers were a strong force against Amazon, but was skeptical that the general public would get involved.

“5,” according to Kohn, who said that Amazon was “predatorily” pricing.

“1,” said Vandagriff.

“3,” Entrekin said, but he was talking about the present, when the industry is relatively stable. The future could well be a 5.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Child care program helps teen parents, students

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Wood students entertain guests at Epcot

By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow | From Page: A2

 
 
 
Solano County Science Fair continues to grow

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Take stock of where you are now, and act

By Murray Bass | From Page: B8

 
Fairfield police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Weather for Saturday, April 18, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Family awarded rights to rare coins

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Dog flu outbreak sweeps across the Midwest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
AG announces anti-bias training program

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
Iraqi officials believe Saddam’s top deputy killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Germany mourns citizens lost in plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Following Alps crash, debate over pilotless planes heats up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Time for meaningful financial reform

By Paul A. Volcker | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
 
.

Living

Today in history: Saturday, April 18, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 18, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My daughter is upset that I didn’t attend my former in-law’s funeral

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscopes: April 18, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

Idea from Adam Sandler film used to soothe dementia patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Armijo nears girls soccer title with 2-0 MEL win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
SCAC girls roll past MEL 55-28 in All-Star hoops game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

SCAC boys slip past MEL in entertaining All-Star game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Athletics fall to Royals 6-4 in rematch of AL wild-card game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors, Pelicans enter series with different pedigrees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Prep softball: Seldon powers Rodriguez to victory over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

JC baseball: Falcons win as Pavlovsky, Evans homer

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Prep badminton: Mustangs roll to 15-0 win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep baseball: Haney hurls Vanden to 3-2 win over Benicia

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Rockhold hopes win over Machida launches him into contention

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Martina Hingis to make singles comeback in Fed Cup match

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Injured Giants fan throws out first ball in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Flyers fire head coach Craig Berube after 2 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hornets GM Cho: Stephenson ‘didn’t work like we expected’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Brazil eyes historic medal haul in 2016 Rio Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
2 weeks before Mayweather-Pacquiao, not a ticket to be seen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Big Ten’s Delany lays out plan for freshman ineligibility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Collmenter shuts down Giants, gets three hits in D-backs win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Merritt’s 61 trumps Masters champion Spieth’s 62

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

2 minor league baseball teams to test game with 5-pitch rule

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA could alter schedule, but no change to playoffs, lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Coonan stepping down as Santa Clara’s athletic director

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel says he “let down” fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers fullback Miller at home in Georgia after March arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Before ruling out an upset in NBA East, listen to these guys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Western Conference teams face perilous path to NBA Finals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for April 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Back on the USA Network: Sports return with NHL playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Frederick’s of Hollywood reveals closing of retail stores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Don’t plan to line up for Apple Watch next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Glaxo recalls flu vaccine due to potency problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 4 Comments

California home prices hit new 7-year high, sales rebound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Douglas Craig Sparks

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7