Novelist Douglas Preston, who founded the authors group critical of Amazon known as Authors United, has joined with the Authors Guild and the New America Foundation to host a discussion about the retailer’s power and influence in the book trade. The talk, called Amazon's Book Monopoly: A Threat to Freedom of Expression?, will be held at the New America Foundation’s office in Washington D.C., on January 27.
In a letter sent to potential attendees, Preston said positive things came out of a meeting that Authors Unlimited and the Authors Guild had with the Justice Department about antitrust concerns with Amazon. Preston wrote that “while Justice staff did not (and cannot) give us any indication of whether they would investigate, they took our concerns seriously.”
This talk, Preston explained, is to build on what came out of that meeting. Among those who will be featured in the discussion are authors Scott Turow and Susan Cheever; Smashwords founder Mark Coker; former 'New Republic' editor (and New America Foundation fellow) Franklin Foer; and William Morris Endeavor agent Eric Simonoff.
Preston said that the discussion in Washington is centered on "Amazon's enormous market power and the ways we believe it has misused that power to the detriment of authors and the book industry.”
Admission to the discussion, which will be held from 12:15 pm to 3:15 pm, is free. The New America Foundation is located at 740 15th Street NW, Suite 900, in Washington, DC.
Preston added: “Our goal is to shine a light on how Amazon's monopoly, and its heavy-handed behavior, are already affecting the free flow of ideas in our society. Never in the history of our country has a single corporation dominated a vital marketplace of information—until today.”