In late 2014, Amazon and the publishing house Hachette settled a months-long dispute over who should set the price for e-books. In Amazon's view, lower prices mean more sales and more readers, and that benefits everyone. But for publishers, the price of an e-book must reflect the investment made, from the author's advance to a book's production. The conflict, resolved for now, has only raised more questions about the value of books, Amazon's business practices, and the role of publishers. Is book publishing an oligopoly, a dinosaur in need of disruption? Is Amazon, which accounts for 41% of all new book and 67% of all e-book sales, a monopoly? Who is doing right by readers and the future of books?
John Donvan is the moderator for "Intelligence Squared U.S." He is an author and correspondent for ABC News. He has hosted "Nightline," "World News," "Good Morning America," and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” in addition to producing “My Generation” for PBS. He has also served as ABC’s Chief White House correspondent and held postings in London, Jerusalem, Moscow and Amman. Recognized by the National Magazine Awards for his 2011 Atlantic profile piece “Autism’s First Child,” he is currently writing a book on the history of autism to be published by Crown in 2013.
Franklin Foer is the editor of The New Republic.
Foer graduated from Columbia in 1996. Before joining The New Republic, Foer was a frequent contributor to the online magazine Slate.
His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Spin, U.S. News & World Report, Lingua Franca, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, New York and Foreign Policy. In 2004 he published his first book, How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization.
Joe Konrath is the author of several dozen thriller novels. He was traditionally published by Hyperion, Hachette, and Penguin. Since getting his rights back, he's sold over a million ebooks via self-publishing.
Scott Turow: Lawyer and author of legal thrillers including The Burden of Proof, Presumed Innocent, Pleading Guilty, and Personal Injuries.
Matthew Yglesias is the Associate Editor of the Atlantic Monthly and the author of Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.