Thursday, July 24, 2014

Around Retail Giant Amazon, University Presses Tiptoe and Whisper

The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 24th, 2014

Customers adore Amazon for its ability to deliver almost anything almost instantly. Publishers’ feelings about the online retail giant are a lot more complicated.
They love how it can boost book sales. They are less enamored of the negotiating power its size and reach give it. The New York Times summed up the dilemma in a July headline: "Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed." It accompanied an article, one of many in recent weeks, about the standoff between Amazon and a major commercial publisher, Hachette, reportedly over e-book pricing and other issues.
Compared with trade publishers like Hachette, most university presses are small fry in the very large sea that Amazon trawls. For the presses, however, Amazon plays "an enormous role," says Rebekah Darksmith, deputy director of the University of California Press. "Amazon and its technology are ubiquitous at this point."

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