Amazon is so hateful and stupid that they tried using Orwell, of all people, to bolster their argument that they alone should be allowed to dictate the future of publishing, largely because they benefitted from a Kafka-esque legal decision on Apple's approach to selling e-books. But the problem is, the people who work at Amazon are stupid and illiterate — or they think we are — so they cite Orwell in a quote that deliberately misrepresents as thoroughly as possible, Orwell's actual words, which is, of course, the very definition of "Orwellian". From the NY Times:
[Amazon] argues that people against e-books are against the future, and talks about how the book industry hated cheap paperbacks when they were introduced in the 1930s, and said they would ruin the business when they really rejuvenated it.
Unfortunately, to clinch its argument it cites the wrong authority:
"The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if 'publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.' Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion."
Could the Amazon Books Team, which is credited as the source of this post, have really written this? Because a moment's Googling would have revealed that the team is misrepresenting this "famous author."
First, when Orwell wrote that line, he was celebrating Penguin paperbacks, not urging suppression or collusion. Does Amazon, which early in its e-book days made copies of "1984″ vanish from Kindles after discovering it did not own the rights, really think George Orwell — of all people! — would want to suppress books?
Here is what the writer said in the New English Weekly on March 5, 1936: <b>"The Penguin Books are splendid value for sixpence, so splendid that if the other publishers had any sense they would combine against them and suppress them." </b>Get it? He liked them.
But Orwell then went on to undermine Amazon's argument much more effectively than Hachette ever has. "It is of course a great mistake to imagine that cheap books are good for the book trade," he wrote. "Actually it is just the other way about … The cheaper books become, the less money is spent on books."