We’re in a publishing “cold war,” according to the UK’s Guardian.
And it would be kinda entertaining to watch and read about this whole Amazon vs. Barnes & Noble (vs. Books-A-Million vs. Indigo vs. IndieCommerce) atomic struggle, if the eventual consequences, like the Cuban missile crisis, weren’t so potentially dire.
In brief, B&N recently flat out refused to sell Amazon Publishing’s titles (including those from its New Harvest imprint) in its stores, in what amounts to a genuine boycott. That’s basically because Amazon refuses to make certain eBooks available for the Nook, having struck a slew of “exclusive” deals with publishers, agents and authors they represent.
To many, it’s a justified tit for tat move.
Some, like O’Reilly Media’s Joe Wilkert, are even prodding B&N to go a step further by “disrupting the industry” through the elimination of all DRM restrictions on their titles. Provocative, to say the least.
We’re written plenty about Amazon’s predatory instincts/moves in the past, like here and here. With its warheads pointing squarely at the publishing industry at large, will B&N’s countermove turn out like the Bay of Pigs? Or will it make the “evil business empire,” Amazon’s detractors claim it has become, eventually stand down?
As B&N’s Jaime Carey opines: “Their (Amazon’s) actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content.”
We suspect a truce, and maybe a compromise, will come at some point in the near future but, in the interim, expect the unexpected as the tension between the superpowers escalates.
(Image: George C. Scott as General ‘Buck’ Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.)