Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

What's the Amazon Up To?

by Susan Ohanian

I admit I find Amazon convenient. I can look up info about books, find a quick source of reviews. I can even buy a marine toilet (as I did last week). But I feel guilty when I make a book purchase because I know I'm sending business their way when it should go to a local independent bookstore. And of course there's Jeff Bezos-- member of the Bilderberg group, anti-union, and so on.

Now it looks like Bezos is out to establish his own publishing empire. As I noted in Alphabet Books, the AFT, the Common Core, and Heart's Death Amazon digital offers a (dreadful) new dinosaur e-book. I've noticed lately a number of these Amazon e-books listed in various categories. No publisher is mentioned--just Amazon digital.

Today I went on Amazon and noticed that they now describe books--with lots of detail--but don't mention a publisher. To find out the publisher you have to go to the "look inside" feature and find the copyright page. Here are a few new titles I tried:

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

  • The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

  • While writing this piece, I've discovered that one can click on Book Details See all --and actually see who the publisher is and how much the book weighs.

    Older books still have the old format, not hiding the publisher behind a curtain:

    One Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards.

    NOTE: My point is not hard vs e-books. People can buy a new book in whatever format they want. My point is Who creates the book? Amazon is assuming the role of publisher--pretending these awful creations are on a par with established authors & publishers.

    Call me paranoid, but I find it ominous that Amazon is putting real publishers behind curtains while embarking on its own ugly publishing enterprise.

    — Susan Ohanian




    This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.