Are we at the beginnings of a backlash against big tech? Last week the New Yorker published a disruption takedown from Jill Lepore in which she castigated the tech community for its “reckless and ruthless” philosophy of disruption. Over the weekend the Observer criticised tech companies for sometimes thinking “they are above good rules”. A few weeks ago the New Statesman ran a series of articles puncturing the Silicon Valley dream, and warning about the “political and social damage that may be done by the future land-grab being pursued by the big internet companies”.
For publishers the context for this are the ongoing negotiations between Amazon and its suppliers over supremacy in the book business. As The Bookseller exclusively reported yesterday, Amazon’s latest terms indicate a direction of travel that would see the online retailer take a sizeable control over both a publisher’s inventory and its marketing. Can’t deliver fast enough to meet Amazon’s super-efficient distribution machine? Amazon would now POD the book. Not sure how best to market a book, or a list? Amazon could do it for you, albeit for a cut of the turnover.