There is a lot going on in the digital publishing industry at the moment, some of it inspiring, some of it shameful. While on the positive side, GoodEReader reported today from BookExpo on a school that went entirely to digital textbooks and cloud-based instructional materials, all in the space of one school year; on the negative side, attendees were urgently cautioned that there was to be no discussion of the Department of Justice investigation against several publishers or anti-trust lawsuits. During one hapless speaker’s presentation this morning, a heckler yelled out, “Insider trading!” to a stunned room when the speaker listed Apple as an example of a company that has become a financial success in the digital publishing industry.
But one notable bizarre turn has been the outright bashing and near-slandering of Amazon at this year’s event. While the online retail giant’s name is often met with eye rolls or voiced opinions from individuals in the industry, this is the first event in recent memory where the snide remarks and finger pointing have even happened from the presentation stage.
One attendee got up and left a session on social media today because the speaker strayed so far from the topic in order to level remarks at the ebook retailer. In another presentation on self-publishing, the expert strongly cautioned attendees not to sign exclusively with one distribution platform.
In the Special Events hall of today’s IDPF Digital Book event, a last minute guest speaker, Paul Aiken from the Author’s Guild, gave a ten-minute one-sided explanation of the DoJ investigation against Apple and five publishers but he somehow managed to insert the phrase, “Amazon’s predatory pricing model,” three times, despite the fact that Amazon is not named in the investigation or lawsuits. This was after the entire assembly had been told not to bring even it up throughout this year’s event.
While GoodEReader aims to remain neutral in terms of showing support for one platform or retailer over another, is anyone going to speak up for Amazon? And doesn’t it seem like everyone enjoys these jabs and innuendoes, yet their sales figures clearly demonstrate that not everyone despises Amazon as much as some people pretend to?