J.A.Konrath/Barry Eisler on Justice Department, Author's Guild, and the conspiracies of the Big Six:

As an update to the impact of the Justice Department's suit on price-fixing by the publishers, read Konrath's latest blog at http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/, where he and Eisler take apart Scott Turow's pathetic appeal to all writers to work together in bringing down Amazon in order to protect writers like him.


On a personal note:  I'm still outraged at the way Author's Guild sold out authors in their attempt to stop Google's theft of their books.  Note:  Authors Guild doesn't represent authors.  It represents publishers (and the status quo).

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Whew, that Turow is taking a beating in the blogosphere. But rightly so IMO. A law degree and writing skill don't translate into a grasp of business and economics apparently.

That's messed-up about the Author's Guild,  J I.

It's not surprising though.  I've seen other such organizations doing the opposite of what it would see they are for.

What I don't get is why publishers charging whatever they see fit for their books is more actionable than amazon running what is essentially a monopoly... and de facto fixing prices very literally

Since the Reagan era anti-trust law has evolved so that it mostly pays attention to the consumer instead of trying to protect suppliers and competition too. So it's the increased prices for the consumer that has led to the attention of the Justice dept. Here's a good summary of the evolution of anti-trust law for anyone interested: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/07/0081115

Hmm, that's interesting, Eric.

So Walmart and China are good for us, right?  And amazon establishing a monopoly that can force pricing industry wide isn't to worry about?


It's interesting because bookselling hasn't been a traditional retail business in a long time. Bookstores are consignment stores that don't pay for their stock and return it if it doesn't sell. Does any other product sell like this? It certainly complicates pricing if the store hasn't first purchased the stock. Have bookstores ever been able to set book prices?

Well, a very long time ago, book sellers negotiated for the rights to the book with the author.  They printed up a fancy title page, and the author went around among his friends, asking them to subscribe for the printing.  Yes, things were actually worse then.


But that return policy is what hurt both publishers and authors.  In the present system, it means the authors have caught the fallout from those losses.  This is why I do not support book stores any longer.

Yes, and the Big 6, as we're calling them, adjusted to the return system and have used it to keep smaller publishers from competing. It's a very strange system for an organization that represents authors to defend.

And I hate this falling back on, "rich literary culture" as if the shareholders of Hachette or Bertelsmann care about literary culture. If anything, opening up access to the market to more authors and small publishers will lead to a more diverse "literary culture" than keeping it a closed shop of six multinational corporations.

The "rich literary culture" is totally self-serving.  Scott Turow isn't a very nice man.

I made up my mind after the Google debacle that Author's Guild will never see a dime from me.

I'm not deep into this publishing thing, and was less so then, but that really shocked me.

Today you are your own author's guild and your own big six.

Oh, no.

Just when I was getting the hang of being my own God, my own heaven, my own parents, my own inner child, and my own Supreme Court. 


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