By Carolyn Kellogg
4:48 PM EDT, October 17, 2013
Bestselling author Scott Turow is back with a new legal thriller, "Identical" -- look for our review in the Sunday Los Angeles Times -- and making the talk show rounds. On "CBS This Morning," he talked about the book and its origins, then turned to Amazon.com, explaining what things about the online retailer he finds "evil."
"To me, it looks like Amazon is trying to monopolize the e-book market," said Turow, a practicing attorney, choosing his words carefully. "They used what I thought of as unfair tactics."
It takes a bestselling author like Turow, whose "Presumed Innocent" sold millions of copies. to risk offending Amazon, which has more than a quarter of the entire e-book market. "I'm not talking about me," Turow said Wednesday. "Bestselling authors are going to do fine. I'm talking about shrinking the market so you have fewer writers and fewer voices."
As the president of the Authors Guild, Turow has been intimately acquainted with many of the business issues surrounding e-books. The Writers Guild has filed suit against Google regarding its massive book-scanning project and joined in the legal maneuvering around the Department of Justice e-book case against publishers and Apple Inc. But when it comes to Amazon, the guild has taken no official legal action.
However, Turow is a high-profile voice advocating for caution toward Amazon. "If you price e-books well below the cost, which is what they did for years, that both destroys physical bookstores and drives the reading public into the e-book, which of course Amazon dominates," Turow said.
Turow listed some of the many challenges facing authors today, and the outlook was unquestionably gloomy. Host Gayle King jumped in to voice her affection for printed books.
"Books are not going to die," Turow agreed. "Text will always be with us."
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