For Whom Amazon Tolls


As the Amazon versus Hachette dispute drags on into its fifth month, Alex Shepard, over at Melville House, examines the conflict, and what it means for publishers and authors:

Traditional publishers can’t do what Amazon does; Amazon can’t do what traditional publishers do (and no, the fact that bookstores don’t carry books published by Amazon is not the only reason why this is true, though that’s a subject for another post). Traditional publishing needs Amazon to survive right now, but American culture needs traditional publishing. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, may want to destroy the publishing industry, but I doubt that Jeff Bezos, husband of novelist McKenzie Bezos, would want to live in a world bereft of traditional publishers (at least if there wasn’t anything to replace them which, again, there isn’t right now). I’m sure most Amazon employees would agree.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →