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How to end Amazon’s “tricky” monopoly on books



Booksellers and authors in the United States have united to request an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into Amazon’s purported monopolistic control over the book industry.

This call for action comes as Amazon faces an imminent antitrust lawsuit, adding to the mounting pressure on the e-commerce behemoth.

In a letter signed by critics of Amazon, including the American Booksellers Association, the Authors Guild, and the antitrust nonprofit Open Markets Institute, concerns are raised about the company’s practices that are alleged to have enabled it to establish an iron grip on book sales and exert undue influence over the promotion and demotion of book titles.

The letter argues that the FTC should delve into how Amazon has leveraged “unfair methods of competition” to gain dominance in the book market.

This appeal coincides with reports that Amazon executives are scheduled to meet with FTC officials in what is colloquially termed a “last rites” meeting – a meeting seen as the final step before a formal federal antitrust action is taken against Amazon’s vast online retail operation.

Amazon’s tricks

Critics point out that Amazon’s algorithms and practices give the company an extensive control over what readers see when they browse for books.

The letter, addressed to Lina Khan, the FTC chair, and Jonathan Kanter, the Justice Department’s antitrust chief, highlights Amazon’s market position, drawing parallels to the monopolistic practices of railroads in the 19th century.

It notes that Amazon, much like railroads of the past, holds significant sway in the book market, influencing which products reach consumers.

The letter also highlights Amazon’s substantial sales dominance within the US publishing industry. Amazon is said to account for over 50% of all physical books sold in the retail marketplace, as well as more than 90% of physical books sold online and over 80% of e-books.

Strong-arm tactics

Accusations in the letter range from claims of Amazon using strong-arm tactics to enforce onerous contract terms on traditional publishers to allegedly promoting its own listings and pricing over others.

The authors of the letter point out that the number of brick-and-mortar bookstores in the US has dwindled significantly over the years, falling from approximately 12,000 in 1998 to just over 6,000 in 2019.

Amazon’s response to these allegations remains to be seen. The implications of a potential FTC or DOJ lawsuit targeting Amazon’s operations are still unclear.

Reports from June indicated that the FTC was preparing a comprehensive antitrust suit focused on Amazon’s core online marketplace.

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YouTuber Trevor Jacob behind bars for plane crash stunt



YouTuber Trevor Jacob has been sentenced to jail after orchestrating a dangerous stunt involving a plane crash in a reckless bid for views.

The shocking incident unfolded as Jacob attempted to push the boundaries of extreme content creation on his YouTube channel.

In a bid to capture the attention of his audience, Jacob embarked on a perilous mission, piloting a small plane before deliberately crashing it. The stunt, which was filmed and uploaded to his channel, garnered immediate backlash from viewers, many of whom decried the reckless behavior as dangerous and irresponsible.

Authorities swiftly intervened, launching an investigation into Jacob’s actions. Following the investigation, he was arrested and subsequently sentenced to a prison term.

The incident has raised important questions about the ethics of content creation, the pursuit of internet fame, and the potential legal consequences for those who prioritize views over safety.


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Russian women want their men back from Ukraine



In a heartfelt plea, Russian women have taken to the streets demanding the safe return of their loved ones from the Ukrainian front.

The conflict in Ukraine has stretched on for years, and the toll on families has been immense. Mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters are uniting to call for an end to the fighting and the return of their men.

The women, often referred to as the “mothers of the front,” are growing increasingly frustrated with the ongoing conflict. They argue that their husbands, sons, and brothers have been away for far too long, and the human cost of the war is simply too high.

With no clear resolution in sight, their calls for peace and reconciliation are becoming more urgent.

This grassroots movement has sparked a national conversation in Russia, with many questioning the government’s handling of the conflict.

While the official stance has been to support the separatist forces in Ukraine, these women are highlighting the personal tragedies and broken families left in the wake of the war. Their determination to bring their loved ones home is palpable.

The situation raises important questions about the impact of long-term conflicts on families, the role of women in peace movements, the government’s response to public sentiment, and the prospects for a peaceful resolution in the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

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Is a long commute a reason to quit?



Workers reconsider roles due to lengthy travel times

A surge in resignations is hitting the job market as employees reevaluate the impact of long commutes on their work-life balance. The trend, intensified by the rise of remote work during the pandemic, sees a growing number of professionals opting to quit rather than endure extended travel times.

A recent survey conducted among commuters revealed that 68% of participants identified their daily journeys as a major source of stress. The findings suggest a paradigm shift in the traditional understanding of commuting as an inherent aspect of employment.

Employers are now grappling with the challenge of retaining talent as dissatisfaction with lengthy commutes becomes a catalyst for resignations. The implications extend beyond individual decisions, impacting productivity and overall workforce dynamics.

The phenomenon underscores the need for businesses to reassess their remote work policies and invest in solutions that alleviate the burden of commuting. As the job market adapts to evolving expectations, companies that fail to address the commute conundrum risk losing valuable contributors.

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