NYT Columnist: 'Save Barnes & Noble'

"The full story revolves around government policy--in particular, Washington's leniency, under both parties, toward technology giants that have come to resemble monopolies," noted op-ed columnist David Leonhardt in an opinion piece titled "Save Barnes & Noble," published in the New York Times on Sunday.

Leonhardt writes that rather than the saga of Amazon vs. Barnes & Noble simply being one of digital disruption, it has much more to do with outdated government policy. In the 1970s, legal scholars like Robert Bork first began to suggest that monopolies might not be a problem so long as prices remained low, and in the decades since, that idea has largely become accepted as gospel by both parties.

But, he said, scholars are beginning to challenge that notion, and new evidence suggests that prices "are not a broad enough measure of well-being." He details how Amazon's "artificially low prices" are responsible for a plethora of problems facing the publishing industry, including fewer books being commercially viable, publishers becoming more and more reliant on blockbuster writers, the diminishing number of authors who can support themselves through writing, and the damage done to bricks-and-mortar retail. Leonhardt added that when the U.S. "emerges from the Trump presidency," he hopes we "will have a government that takes monopolies seriously."

Quoted in the piece, American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher said: "It's in the interest of the book business for Barnes & Noble not just to survive but to thrive."

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