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Amazon tightens its chokehold

A shudder went through the entire world of publishing Thursday afternoon, after Amazon announced the purchase of the social reader site Goodreads. When people who normally eschew Hitler analogies compare an Amazon move to the Nazi invasion of Poland, it's time to pay attention. Or as author Alex Irvine immediately tweeted,"Next, publishers will be required to dig own graves."

Goodreads, according to Salon's own publishing maven, Laura Miller, "was the single major readers' community independent of Amazon." But maintaining that independence hasn't been easy. Up until January 2012, Goodreads used the Amazon Product Advertising API as its primary source for book data. But as Jon Mitchell explained last year, getting in bed with Amazon comes with some rather stringent handcuffs. For one thing, Goodreads wasn't allowed to use that data in conjunction with any site or app "designed or intended for use with a mobile phone or other handheld device."

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