Authors Guild Analyzes Amazon Dominance

By Dianna Dilworth 

The Authors Guild posted a long essay yesterday, arguing that “the abandoning of New Deal era protections of retailers” is helping Amazon dominate the book business.

Referencing Barry Lynn‘s piece in Harper’s this week called “Killing the Competition: How the New Monopolies Are Destroying Open Markets,” the Author’s Guild explained: “Mr. Lynn makes the case that Amazon’s dominance isn’t just a story of an industry disrupted by online commerce and digital upheaval, it’s about the abandoning of New Deal era protections of retailers in 1975 (promoted by backers as a means to fight inflation, says Mr. Lynn) and what he portrays as a shift in 1981 in the Justice Department’s interpretation of antitrust law based on ‘Chicago School’ theories of efficiency and consumer welfare.”

The Guild’s blog also asserted that while online bookstores work well for established authors, emerging authors struggle in this arena.

The blog continued: “Established authors, for the most part, do fine selling through online bookstores. It’s new authors who lose out if browsing in bookstores becomes a thing of the past. Advances for unproven and non-bestselling authors have already plummeted, by all accounts. Literary diversity is at risk.”