The Orwell Estate Has Criticised Amazon for its 'Propaganda' Misquote

By Tom Pritchard on at

Bill Hamilton, literary agent for George Orwell's estate, has attacked Amazon for misquoting the author in the ongoing battle with publishers over e-book prices. Hamilton compared the company to 1984's infamous Ministry of Truth and accused them of deliberately twisting the facts to create a piece of propaganda.

Amazon has compared the e-book to the introduction of the paperback, and quoted Orwell as having said (regarding paperbacks) if "publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them”. According to Amazon this shows Orwell was urging publishers to unite and fight off the paperback; presumably it considers itself in a similar situation now that publishers are fighting against Amazon's plans to lower e-book prices.

In fact, Orwell's actual quote reads "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.” That's definitely more than a bit different to Amazon's current "plight", and Hamilton has noted the irony of a company like Amazon twisting Orwell's words to mask the truth of the matter. [The Bookseller]