Particularly situations in which friends can be made, as David Brooks wrote about in yesterday’s post: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, does something very interesting along these lines – though a recent battle between the retailer and a major publisher is souring the relationship:
Every fall, Mr. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, hosts Campfire, a literary weekend in Santa Fe, N.M. Dozens of well-known novelists have attended, but they do not talk about the abundance of high-end clothing and other gifts, the lavish meals, the discussion under the desert stars by Neil Armstrong or the private planes that ferried some home.
Writers loved it. There was no hard sell of Amazon, or soft sell, either. The man who sells half the books in America seemed to want nothing more each year than for everyone to have a good time. All he asked in return was silence.
For four years, the bargain held. But the fifth Campfire, which writers say is taking place this weekend, is a little different. Amazon’s acrimonious battle with Hachette, the fourth-largest publisher, is fracturing the secrecy and sapping some of the good will.