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David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

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Offline davidwailing Reading
23 Sep 2014, 11:48 AM | Post: #1

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David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

There are so many things wrong with this article I don't know where to start:
http://www.theguardian.com...
Any thoughts?
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Offline Kath Middleton Reading Hell, yes!
23 Sep 2014, 11:58 AM | Post: #2

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RE: David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

Ooh, THAT David Mitchell!

Well, he was talking to the association of booksellers. It'd be a hanging offence to tell them that Amazon and its easy route to epublishing are the mutt's nuts. He was telling them what they wanted to hear.
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RE: David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

Instead of moaning like spoilt kids who've lost their trolley; the Publishers should get off their backsides and offer their own alternative to Amazon.
It isn't rocket science and they would be supplying a service that many of their customers want.
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Offline JonC Reading
23 Sep 2014, 01:23 PM | Post: #4

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RE: David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

He is correct in that Amazon have paid virtually no tax.
He is also correct in that they are squeezing some of the smaller bookstores out of business in the UK, which is actually to nobody's advantage in the long run. I do not know all the in's and out's, however there is an article here: http://www.thebookseller.com...

However, the publishing industry had always had an appalling reputation of being a clique and so on and so forth. It was inevitable it would bring about its own destruction, either from within or due to evolution. Waterstones stated how ebooks would fail in 2012, repeated that stance earlier this year and then promptly tied up a deal with Amazon in May 2014. Goodreads is also owned by Amazon, following a recent buy-out.

Business is there to make money, like banks. People can hate them for it, but then they all seem to want to make money too. I have little time for the hypocritical rhetoric dealt out on an on going basis by the majority of people who consider themselves wholly justified, their completely conflicting morals stacked up around them in a defensive walls whilst they cast their judgements on anything resembling success in the capitalist society that they, themselves, have chosen to embrace over the alternatives. It frankly bores me.

Amazon smashed up the publishing world and it needed it. It was also inevitable somebody would get it together when the internet first took off. As a consumer, I don't want to visit more than one site to buy my books and that's clearly how most people think.

A primary role of government, via institutions such as the Competition Commission, is to ensure that we are not living in a society that is monopolised by any one company, small group or cartel. They have miserably failed to do this over the past fifteen years and we are now reaping the results across a spectrum of industries.

I think there are serious questions to be asked about the complete lack of standards that are considered acceptable across a range of issues, print quality control, editing, formatting and so forth. However, Print on Demand, POD, was an inevitable movement that will only grow. It involves virtually no risk and is a superb business model in every regard, from every perspective. Whether that should entitle anybody to be able to print anything on a commercial platform with absolutely no regard for even basic grammar, or to have to comply to even a basic standard of formatting for print, is very much an open debate in my mind.
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Offline Ray Kingfisher Reading No, Writing.
23 Sep 2014, 01:26 PM | Post: #5

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RE: David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

(23 Sep 2014 11:48 AM)davidwailing Wrote: Wrote:  There are so many things wrong with this article I don't know where to start:
http://www.theguardian.com...
Any thoughts?

You took the words out of my keyboard, David.

I like DM, but this is nonsense. As you say, so many things are easy targets to argue with. I know he's a showbizzy type, a lefty Guardianisto and was speaking at the bookseller's conference, but 'telling people what they want to hear' is hardly an excuse.

When I was a kid every housing estate had a TV repair man - our family knew him by name. Technology moved on and they don't exist anymore - well, they do, but are very few and far between.
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Offline Tim_A Reading strictly murder by Lynda Wilcox
23 Sep 2014, 01:53 PM | Post: #6

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RE: David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

Other than the usual bias -- he's talking to the Bookseller's Association, and (surprise!) he's releasing a book, he does make some fair points (although I don't get the bit where making books is cheating). But frankly I think he's right about Amazon being a "benefits scrounger".
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Offline Ray Kingfisher Reading No, Writing.
23 Sep 2014, 02:18 PM | Post: #7

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RE: David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

I’d generally agree with JonC, but, as Amazon rightly keep saying, they pay all the tax they are legally obliged to and no more. I support that attitude because it’s exactly what I do and everyone I know does. If they pay VAT on uk sales to Luxembourg blame the EU, don’t blame Amazon, their first duty is to their shareholders, as it should be. And to satisfy their shareholders they need to satisfy customers and employees. That whole churning of money round the system creates wealth which benefits us all. Tax stifles it.

And I don't get the 'benefits scrounger' bit. Who do they scrounge from? Does the government give them money for doing nothing?

But the monopoly of Amazon over ebooks is a worry in the long term. Look at what’s happened to Microsoft: huge profits, an overpaid workforce, and everything they produce is ridiculously expensive and doesn’t work properly. I don't think we're anywhere near that situation with Amazon yet.
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Offline JonC Reading
23 Sep 2014, 02:40 PM | Post: #8

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Offline cecilia_writer Reading Murder by the Glass by Lynda Wilcox
23 Sep 2014, 04:15 PM | Post: #9

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RE: David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

He makes himself sound like a bit of a Luddite with his talk of 'the natural disaster of technological change' - I prefer to see it as the glorious wonder of technological change.
The people who have commented aren't much better. One of them even claims a voracious reader wouldn't need more than one book a week!!! Ha! They obviously don't know the same definition as I do of 'voracious'. (One book a day isn't always enough.)
Offline JMac Reading
23 Sep 2014, 04:50 PM | Post: #10

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RE: David Mitchell blasts Amazon in The Guardian

I'm not a huge fan of Amazon or any of the huge global corporations. I wish commerce was different and I wish capitalism wasn't so good at spawning these huge outfits that swallow everything up, but that is where we are right now. So, I use Amazon to publish my books because there doesn't feel like much of an alternative, and I buy Apple products even though they are tax avoiders too, because I like their kit and the alternative is Microsoft, another massive company with a voracious appetite for smaller ones. I don't much fancy living in a cave, foraging for berries and scratching my novels on the walls, which seems to be the only way of avoiding any contact with these and other monsters, so I just hope for better times in the future and keep on keeping on.
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