Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale sequel just became a pawn in the war between indie booksellers and Amazon

A startling show of what monopoly power can do

The Testaments.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Wikimedia Commons, Fourleaflover/iStock, Amazon)

It took Margaret Atwood 34 years to publish the sequel for The Handmaid's Tale, but Amazon couldn't wait the final six days. On Wednesday, the mega-retailer broke the airtight embargo on Atwood's follow-up, The Testaments, shipping the sequel to some readers almost a full week before it was due to hit bookstore shelves on Sept. 10.

It is surely not the first time Amazon has shipped a book to readers before the official publication date, but it is the most egregious case. It is also a startlingly clear example of the uncontested power of Amazon's monopoly, and the helplessness of booksellers and publishers alike when the company, maliciously or not, plays by its own rules.

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