Is Amazon the Reader's Friend?

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In late 2014, Amazon and the publishing house Hachette settled a months-long dispute over who should set the price for e-books. In Amazon’s view, lower prices mean more sales and more readers... and that benefits everyone. But for publishers, the price of an e-book must reflect the investment made, from the author’s advance to a book’s production.

The conflict, resolved for now, has only raised more questions about the value of books, Amazon’s business practices, and the role of publishers. Is book publishing an oligopoly, a dinosaur in need of disruption? Is Amazon, which accounts for 41% of all new book and 67% of all e-book sales, a monopoly? Who is doing right by readers and the future of books?

In this debate from Intelligence Squared, two teams face off on the matter. 

Arguing for the motion is author and self-publishing pioneer Joe Konrath and Executive Editor of VoxMatthew Yglesias. Arguing against the motion is former Editor of The New RepublicFranklin Foer, and attorney and author Scott Turow.

Airs:

  • Saturday, March 28 at 6am on 93.9FM/NJPR
  • Saturday, March 28 at 2pm on AM 820
  • Saturday, March 28 at 9pm on NJPR
  • Sunday, March 29 at 8pm on AM 820

Watch the debate: