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's fiction has appeared in 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, Joyland Magazine, and elsewhere and nonfiction has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, The Negatives, Electric Literature, Fiction Advocate, and elsewhere. He is the Deputy Editor of The Rumpus, holds an MA in English from Rutgers University, tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →