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RIP: "Is Amazon Evil or Malicious?" (2012 – 2015)

16651873080_436ff9b059_bThe topic of "Amazon as a force for evil or good" died 27 May 2015 in New York City, at the IDPF 2015 conference.

This hot industry topic was born with the rise of the Kindle ebook store in the dawn of the modern ebook era. After a long career as a topic on blogs, discussion forums, and at cocktail parties, "Is Amazon Good for Readers?" reached the pinnacle of its career in 2014 and 2015 during the long running contract dispute with Hachette.

"Amazon: Business as Usual?" was the subject of not one but two webcast debates in 2014, garnering much attention as all turned to gawk. It moved on to become one of the more talked about sessions at DBW 2015, but alas, the attention was short-lived.

The topic abruptly died in May 2015 near the beginning of its last performance, "Is Amazon Good for Readers?". It was done in by panelists who were unable to summon anything to say other than clichés.

The first blow was struck by Andrew Albanese, who said that Amazon was a reader’s friend but then turned and stabbed the topic with an allusion to chickens coming home to roost. Dazed but still mobile, the topic was struck by recycled argument after recycled argument before finally receiving the coup de grace when one of the panelists compared Amazon’s efforts to Olive Garden.

It was unable to recover.

"Amazon: Font of All Evil" is survived by many illegitimate children, but mourned by no one. Its corpse has already been scavenged by consultants and turned into the source for three books, 4 conference sessions, and a lamentations for the good old days.


So one of the sessions today at the IDPF conference was called "Is Amazon Good for Readers?". As you can imaging when three publishing industry insiders get together to discuss Amazon, the debate was philosophical.

It was also tired, boring, and repetitive. (When I say that they used cliches, I’m not kidding.) As a result, it fell to this blogger to call the time of death for the topic, and declare it dead.

P.S. I’ll let you in on a secret: it actually died six months ago but was embalmed and perfumed in order to hide that fact.

image by Kool Cats Photography


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fjtorres May 27, 2015 um 6:38 pm

Like Lenin, it will still be trotted out regularly by the faithful. Probably every time BPH aggregate market share and/or profits decline.

Which is to say: quarterly.

Nate Hoffelder May 27, 2015 um 7:10 pm

Yes, I expect to hang around like a persistent mold infestation.

Bob W May 27, 2015 um 7:05 pm

Does that mean from this date forward it’s going to be a brain sucking Zombie? I thought it already was.

fjtorres May 27, 2015 um 8:04 pm

It *was* a shambling zombie.
By now it’s stopped even twitching.
But they have it stuffed and mounted on a dolly so they can roll it out on "special" occassions.

Bridget McKenna May 28, 2015 um 10:47 am

Well, it was already smelling to high heaven last year, so we can hope it will soon be too ripe to be recycled into barely-disguised panel topics in future.

Nate Hoffelder May 28, 2015 um 11:36 am

I thought the corpse smelled ripe at DBW, but I ignored the smell. And I thought the two webcasts last yearwere passably interesting.

Reader May 27, 2015 um 10:47 pm

As I have purchased e-readers from Amazon at very good prices, I consider Amazon to be this Reader’s friend.

Nate Hoffelder May 28, 2015 um 5:26 am

I see my relationship as a business deal, and nothing more.

eFTy June 2, 2015 um 7:46 am

Funny article, but since I started working for a small publishing house making ebooks, I’ve come across so much bull from Amazon I really wish this topic would stay live and healthy and get a big YES at the end…

Nate Hoffelder June 2, 2015 um 7:54 am

If one of these conference sessions were turned into "Amazon Anonymous" then that would be interesting. But the topic, as presented, has gone stale.

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