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Amazon Is The Reader's Friend

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  • Why Big Book Publishers Are Afraid of Amazon

    Clip: Debaters, including Vox's Matthew Yglesias, look at how Amazon drives down prices and the "tyranny" of big book publishers.

  • Self-Publishing: Quantity Over Quality?

    Clip: Debaters explore how Amazon and self-publishers are skewing how readers discover and pay for new books.

  • Franklin Foer: Amazon's Monopoly Is Killing Us

    Clip: A group of debaters, including former New Republic editor Franklin Foer, describe today's book publishing "oligopoly" versus Amazon's monopoly.

  • What Amazon Can't Do: Pay Writers

    Clip: Debaters Scott Turow, Joe Konrath, Franklin Foer, and Vox's Matthew Yglesias take on the question: If Amazon wins, what will happen to book advances and writer's salaries?

Debate Details

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?

The Debaters

For the motion

Joe Konrath

Author & Self-Publishing Pioneer

Joe Konrath is the author of several dozen thriller novels. He was traditionally published by Hyperion, Hachette, and Penguin. Since getting his rights... Read More

Matthew Yglesias

Executive Editor, Vox

Matthew Yglesias is executive editor of, a digital news startup that launched in April 2014. Previously he was the Moneybox columnist at Slate... Read More

Against the motion

Franklin Foer

Former Editor, The New Republic

Franklin Foer is the former editor of The New Republic. Before joining The New Republic, Foer was a frequent contributor to the online magazine Slate... Read More

Scott Turow

Attorney & Author

Scott Turow is a writer and attorney. He is the author of ten best-selling works of fiction, including his first novel, Presumed Innocent (1987),... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • Low book prices are good for readers and encourages book buying, which benefits authors and publishers.
  • Amazon is an innovator that single-handedly saved book publishing with the success of its Kindle e-book reader.
  • Amazon democratizes the market by introducing readers to books from self-published authors and small presses.
Against The Motion
  • Low e-book prices ignore the cost of investment made by book publishers and the important role they play in bringing books to market.
  • Books play a vital cultural role and placing so much control in the hands of one company will be harmful to the exchange of ideas.
  • Amazon's predatory pricing stymies competition and squeezes suppliers.


  • Live Audience
  • Online Audience
  • Results
  • Breakdown

The Research

The Research

Amazon, Hachette End Publishing Dispute

Jeffrey Trachtenberg and Greg Bensinger
November 13, 2014

E-retailer, book publisher reach multiyear pact for print, digital books.

A Letter to Our Readers

December 31, 1969

Without taking sides on the contractual dispute between Hachette and Amazon, we encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business.

Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages

Writers and Readers
December 31, 1969

Petitioning Hachette’s CEO: Major publishers like Hachette have a long history of treating authors and readers poorly. Amazon, on the other hand, has built its reputation on valuing authors and readers dearly.

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