Monday, November 10, 2014

Amazon vs. Big Pub vs.Writers- Who's David, Who's Goliath?

Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath, made me think about the whole Amazon/Hachette spat as a parable. Hugh Howey started talking about David and Goliath again.

Because the big media companies continue to distribute falsehoods attacking Amazon, I've looked at this issue before:
Is Amazon Evil, With a Plan to Destroy the Universe?

Amazon and Hachette- Godzilla vs. Mothra

Up until recently, the Big 5’s control of commercial book distribution was near-monopolistic. So say they represent 5 Goliaths with a huge support system, the Philistine Army. They controlled what was sold, how it was sold, and prices. They stomped around and said that nothing was of value unless it went through them, and they took their massive cut for middle-manning. They justified this, because supplying such a huge empire and army was expensive.

Thousands of lyrical shepherds wished to sell their stories and songs, but few could effectively challenge so powerful an army. Some select and lucky shepherds who went begging to the Philistines got paid off with the chance to get their stories in places where others could discover them, so that they might be sold.

One day a caravan named for a river arrived and changed everything. They travelled to all ends of the earth, selling stories for any shepherd, for much more than the Philistines paid. No more begging was involved, and they even handed each shepherd a sling. And many shepherds sold stories which the people craved.

Since the shepherds didn’t have grand armies to support, they could live by selling fewer stories, so many didn’t bother getting permission from the Philistines, who raged at losing control and their cut of profits. The Philistines demanded battle, and lumbered to the field with heavy armor and weapons.

What happened was extraordinary. Whizzing stones peppered the Goliaths, as an army of speedy, lightly-clad Davids fired back in response. No slow Goliath could catch any of the nimble shepherds, they could only rail against the unfairness of it all. “That’s not how battles are fought!”

The shepherds don’t need the Philistines around anymore, they just want to sell stories however they can. But the dismayed Philistines need to support their huge army, and keep demanding battle, saying the caravan that sells is evil, and will someday hurt the shepherds.

The shepherds shrug and figure they’ll find another caravan if that happens. In the meantime, they’re doing rather well without any Philistine involvement.

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