Back in 2007, when I came out with a book reporting on how unpopular the Clintons were when the left the White House, trailing dubious pardons behind them and moving vans filled with government property -- property they eventually had to return -- my book, "The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President's Life After the White House," appeared on Amazon with a cautionary note. It would take two weeks to ship it. Needless to say, that crimped sales. The book was stifled for ideological reasons. Other authors have doubtless had the same experience. Now Hachette is seeing its sales stifled for commercial reasons. If Amazon succeeds its ability to control the sales of books will continue unimpeded.
Michael Pietsch, the chief executive officer of Hachette, is the hero here. He is Shane in the old West or Wyatt Earp in "The Gunfight at O.K. Corral." The bad guys control the town, the countryside, and the watering holes. One of these days Pietsch is going to have to face his opponents down.
That is where the citizenry comes in. If we do not want the bullies to triumph, we are going to have to make our voices heard. Conservatives and liberals, this is an issue we can stand together on. Progressives and First Amendment advocates, let your voices be heard. It is an abomination that one bookseller can restrict a publisher from the timely sale of its books. Let Hachette sell its products where it wants, at what price it wants, and let the other publishers follow suit.
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