The Wall Street Journal has an article on the Author's Guild meeting with the Department of Justice about how Amazon is a big, evil monopoly that should be burned at the stake.
I've done a number of posts about how Amazon is not in fact a monopoly, and I've done other posts on how the Author's Guild is comically useless. I'm not seeing anything here to change my mind about either topic (which also explains why I don't do much industry posting any more)--I mean, it's only been two years since the DOJ ignored the Author's Guild and successfully sued publishers, and the Author's Guild is already running back to them with the exact same argument? Really? I bet the DOJ had a good laugh about that one.
Anyway, what really interested me in the article was some numbers on Amazon's market share, done via a survey of book buyers, not book publishers:
Amazon had 40% of the new book market, 62% of all print books sold online, and 64% of the e-book market, according to a June 2014 online survey by researcher Codex-Group LLC, based on a survey of 3,672 adults who purchased books in the prior month.
The e-book percentage was lower than I thought it would be, although it is in line with the publisher figures the Author's Guild regurgitated two years ago. So, yeah, Amazon's choke-hold on the industry resulted in them . . . not really increasing their market share at all over the past two years. OK.
And just FYI, a similar survey of customers who bought digital music found that roughly 80% use a single retailer, namely iTunes. This is why the Amazon-is-a-monopoly argument just isn't going to fly--it's not about market share. There needs to be anticompetitive behavior, and it's just not there.
The whole Hachette dramarama is nothing more than a standard-issue conflict between a supplier and a retailer, just like the Macmillan one was. It's just that there's a lot of people out there who don't understand business very well and are willing to act as Hachette's unpaid publicity agents.