Long on invective, short on logic. That’s how you want your book trade jackals to be, it seems. Especially when they make “millions off highbrow.” Highbrow, eh: whoo, classy. Well, Andrew Wylie‘s brow certainly looks pretty high in the photo from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that graces his latest interview with the German journal about his views on Amazon’s new German-language publishing program. This is the man, remember, who dismissed Amazon readers as “fools.” And even shorn of the original venom by Goole Translate, he obviously hasn’t got any nicer in the interim. He describes Amazon’s publishing program as “characterized by its idiocy, just there to hoodwink the world that they are taking the publishing business seriously.”
All kinds of interesting claims come up in the course of the interview. Apparently the U.S. Justice Department “has become a subsidiary of Amazon” fronting for an accusation “dictated point by point by Amazon. Amazon could only get away with this selfish behavior by setting up a mock publishing program on legs so they can pretend to be competitors of book publishing and cover up what it really is: a distribution company, which is targeting a monopoly.”
To translate – and I mean translate some pretty weird ideas and concepts, not language – Amazon now controls the Justice Department and steered the whole Apple ebook anti-trust case, purely because it is a distribution company that has some jumped-up idea about acting like an actual publisher. And as noted previously, Wylie has some pretty oddball ideas about the status of distributors. And jackals have long memories and vindictive tempers, it seems. And the failure of his publishing JV with Amazon, Odyssey Editions, obviously still rankles with Wylie.
“The negotiating strategies of Amazon are brutal,” declares the man notorious for his hard-nosed negotiating tactics. “They act as a monopolist and have it set out to destroy the trade in printed books. They need to be resisted by all means.”
Oh for the days when print was print. When highbrow earned you millions. When Kindles weren’t conceived, and the world beat a path to Wylie’s door to have its brows elevated for it. Nowadays you have to go all the way to Germany to find someone who’ll take you seriously enough to run your screed. Oh, what a a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.