By Michael Hoffman
The September 29, 2014 edition of the New York Times features another chapter in the old media’s campaign against Amazon.com
This attack is led, at least in part, by authors and literary agents who have benefited or hope to benefit from the old Gatekeeper publishing companies, which severely limit the public's access to politically incorrect writers and their books. They are protesting certain supposed tactics employed by Amazon:
"...Sons of Wichita by Daniel Schulman, a writer for Mother Jones magazine, came out in May. Amazon initially discounted the book, a well-received biography of the conservative Koch brothers, by 10 percent, according to a price-tracking service. Now it does not discount it at all. It takes as long as three weeks to ship.
"The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea by Representative Paul Ryan has no such constraints, an unusual position these days for a new Hachette book.
"Amazon refused to take advance orders for The Way Forward, as it does with all new Hachette titles. But once the book was on sale, it was consistently discounted by about 25 percent. There is no shipping delay. Not surprisingly, it has a much higher sales ranking on Amazon than Sons of Wichita.
"An Amazon spokesman declined to explain why The Way Forward was getting special treatment...
“We’re talking about censorship: deliberately making a book hard or impossible to get, ‘disappearing’ an author,” Ms. Le Guin wrote in an email. “Governments use censorship for moral and political ends, justifiable or not. Amazon is using censorship to gain total market control so they can dictate to publishers what they can publish, to authors what they can write, to readers what they can buy. This is more than unjustifiable, it is intolerable.” —Ursula K. LeGuin
(End quote from the Times)
LeGuin must be joking. Thousands of authors of worthy but politically incorrect books are refused publication by the major publishing houses which she is defending in their battle with Amazon.
Many of these politically incorrect books are denied advertising in publications such as the New York Review of Books (NYRB). When this writer was denied an ad for his book by the NYRB, they stated that the Bill of Rights only kept the government from practicing censorship, and they were simply exercising their right as a private business to refuse the advertisement for my work.
With regard to politically incorrect books stigmatized as “extremist,” the New York media and their allies and toadies are shameless in their militant commitment to enforcing a gatekeeper function for the sake of protecting their cherished dogmas. But when it looks as though Amazon is allegedly using some of their own tactics they cry foul. It’s pure hypocrisy.
Amazon has been a libertarian boon to those of us who craft books damned by the gatekeepers. At the very least, Amazon sells hundreds of revisionist and other history books of merit which the corrupt old publishing houses refuse to sell, because these books undermine Establishment propaganda. This fact is almost never mentioned in the concerted campaign to portray Amazon as the enemy of authors.
Andrew Wylie, a top literary agent, wrote the following hysterical outburst in the Times: "It's very clear to me, and to those I represent, that what Amazon is doing is very detrimental to the publishing industry and the interests of authors," the agent said. "If Amazon is not stopped, we are facing the end of literary culture in America."
What Mr. Wylie is so arrogantly referring to as "the end of literary culture” is literary culture as defined by him and his elitist cohorts.
The Republic of Letters is thriving at Amazon, outside the gates of the New York publishing mafia. This is the real grievance behind the anti-Amazon agitation.
Hoffman is the author of Usury in Christendom, The Great Holocaust Trial, Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare and five other books sold by Amazon.com