A: Seattle, Washington, United States
" 'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever,' George Orwell wrote in 'Nineteen Eighty-Four.' In 'Animal Farm,' he concluded that revolutions are inevitably betrayed by their leaders. His novel 'Burmese Days' ends with the hero killing himself because he is unfit to live in this sour world. He shoots his dog too.
"As a rule, modern civilization disappointed Orwell when it did not actually sicken him. But in at least one respect he was way too optimistic. Bookselling, he wrote in Fortnightly in November 1936, 'is a humane trade which is not capable of being vulgarized beyond a certain point. The combines can never squeeze the small independent bookseller out of existence as they have squeezed the grocer and the milkman.'
"Jump forward three-quarters of a century, and a certain Seattle-based combine is being accused of exactly that. All sorts of merchants, but particularly booksellers, were infuriated by Amazon’s effort before the holidays to use shops on Main Street and in malls as showrooms for people to check out items before ordering them more cheaply online. The retailer’s refusal to collect sales tax is a persistent grievance. Independent booksellers have even been forced into the novel position of hoping that their one-time foe, Barnes & Noble, survives so that it can serve as a bulwark against Amazon. Publishers, if anything, are more fearful than booksellers.
"Now take a look at the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek two weeks ago. It shows a book in flames with the headline, 'Amazon wants to burn the book business.' What was remarkable was not just the overt Nazi iconography but the fact that it did not cause any particular uproar. In the struggle over the future of intellectual commerce in the United States, apparently even evocations of Joseph Goebbels and the Brown Shirts are considered fair game.
"From Amazon’s point of view, the cover is incorrect even if you disregard any Nazi connotations. What would be the use to Amazon of a charred hulk? It does not want to destroy the book business, but simply to reinvent it — or, as its opponents would have it, seize control of it. (Amazon declined to comment)" (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/amazon-up-in-flames/?hp, accessed 02-08-2012).