Jennifer Saba wrote on Reuters about Jeff Bezos defending Amazon’s lack of profits and the company’s stance on publishers.
His comments come a day after Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its outlook on Amazon to “negative,” citing the company’s upcoming debt offering and the “lack of visibility” about how the funds would be deployed.
Investors have grown increasingly unhappy about Amazon’s spending and lack of disclosure about future plans. Its shares have fallen more than 18 percent this year, despite a 14 percent rise in the Nasdaq.
You would expect a big company like Amazon to be accountable to investors.
Bezos, relaxed in jeans and a gray jacket, defended Amazon’s culture as one willing to spend on new projects, even if they flop like its poor-selling Fire phone.
“We are a large company, but we are also still a start-up. There is a lot of volatility in start-ups,” Bezos said at a conference organized by the Business Insider blog in New York.
Publishers are in better shape because of e-books, which became popular after Amazon launched the Kindle e-reader in 2007, he said, adding that books are still too expensive.
“It’s difficult for incumbents who have a sweet thing to embrace change,” Bezos said. “Making reading more affordable is not going to make authors less money. … It’s going to make authors more money.”
How is commoditisation of creative work a good thing for writers? Bezos shows a lack of appreciation for writing with his statement.
Ursula Le Guin puts it aptly:
I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words. I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.