Russell Grandinetti

lately Amazon has become the Goofus of publishing news, the surly, inconsiderate and gauche kid who never seems to get anything right. This is not to say that Amazon is any less powerful in the marketplace or less likely to triumph in its ongoing war against book publishers. But on the P.R. front, in its most recent battle against the Hachette Book Group, the online retailer has stumbled again and again.

Grandinetti believes the publishing industry has failed to recognise fundamental shifts in its business. Part of Amazon's mission, then, has been to jolt an often sleepy industry with revolutionary, customer-focused retailing zeal. The real competition, he believes, is not rival publications or publishers but the entire array of information and entertainment, free or otherwise, available to consumers. "Books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more," he says.

"I'm not comfortable discussing the contents of that meeting."

That's what Russell Grandinetti, Amazon's (AMZN) vice president for Kindle content, said when asked in court Friday about a meeting he attended in Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Seattle boathouse on Sunday Jan. 24, 2010.

It was the only question in more than four hours of testimony that Grandinetti declined to answer.

Jan. 24 was a significant date in several respects. Amazon executives knew that Apple (AAPL) had scheduled a major product announcement for the following Wednesday.

More Blogs