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Leonid Bershidsky

Amazon Book Battle Is Yesterday's War

Amazon, publishers and authors are fighting over the economics of an obsolete business model when they could be spending time on building a new one.
Don't get mad, get with it.
Don't get mad, get with it.

The pitched battle being fought by Amazon.com Inc., authorsand publishers over the price of books is sad to watch. What they fail to recognize is that in the world of digital literature, book ownership will soon be an anachronism.

The fight has heated up in recent weeks as Amazon tries to squeeze lower prices out of publishing company Hachette Book Group Inc. by limiting customers' access to its books, and authors such as Stephen King, John Grisham and Michael Lewis call on their readers to flood the inbox of Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos with angry e-mails. The publishers and authors say Amazon -- which is estimated to control 65 percent of the e-book market -- is unfairly exploiting its near-monopoly position. The online bookseller says e-books should be cheaper than printed ones because the marginal cost of producing an electronic copy is zero.