Amazon, the 'Darth Vader of the literary world', is crushing small publishers, former Downing St adviser claims

Rohan Silva has said the Government should refer the situation to competition watchdogs

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The Independent Culture

Online retailer Amazon is “crushing” small publishers because of their market dominance, a former Downing Street adviser has claimed.

Rohan Silva, who will launch a book shop called Libreria in London this week, told The Daily Telegraph that the Government should refer the situation to competition watchdogs.

“The way in which they [small publishers] are being crushed by Amazon is absolutely heartbreaking,” he said.

“I’m aghast about what the Government and competition authorities have allowed Amazon to do, which is absolutely to screw over the small publishers who have no choice but to deal with Amazon.

“The Government and competition authorities have allowed them to become so dominant and stifle competition. It’s really horrifying.”

Mr Silva previously advised David Cameron and the Chancellor, George Osborne.

But he said successive governments had been “weak” about ensuring there was effective competition.

“As a country, we’re extremely relaxed – to use Peter Mandelson’s phrase – about competition in free markets and the damage that does to small businesses. I believe business can be a great force in the world but we should absolutely crack down when businesses are abusing their dominant market position,” he said.

Last month, the bestselling US author Scott Turow, who has sold hundreds of thousands of books through Amazon, said its power was a threat to free speech.

“They are, as I have called them, the Darth Vader of the literary world,” said Mr Turow, a former US federal prosecutor and president of the US Author’s Guild.

He also suggested that the Justice Department should have already stepped in.

Amazon declined to comment about Mr Silva’s claims, The Daily Telegraph said.