“Whatever his intentions, Jeff Bezos has more influence than any person in the world today over the future of reading,” writes Steve Coll in his review of Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
in The New York Review of Books (July 10, 2014). Stone’s book, “a deeply reported, fiercely independent-minded account of Amazon’s rise,” is due out in paperback this fall from Hachette, one of the publishers most involved in a distribution squeeze from the mighty Amazon.
Bezos, now 50 years old and a billionaire many times over, and married to a novelist, spends much of his time away from Amazon, pursuing a space venture (and partnering with Steward Brand and compatriots on The Clock of the Long Now). Coll wonders if he will be similarly detached from his ownership of The Washington Post. (Coll thinks Bezos hopes to make The Post “a worldwide digital newspaper suitable for e-readers.”)
As Amazon’s monopoly power grows, will Bezos turn out to be a savior or destructor of the book business? Coll shares Brad Stone’s pessimistic outlook. He expects the paperback release of The Everything Store to provide a telling example. “On the evidence available,” Coll concludes, “Bezos is at once a visionary, an innovator, and a destroyer.”
Jeff Bezos 2012 interview with Charlie Rose, via Hulu [ads]