Amazon is the bully of the book industry. Consumers don’t care because Amazon’s strategy to make every point of its business a loss-leader brings lower-than-market-value pricing for e-readers and e-books. But they should care when, as a result of these practices, there will be weakened and diminished competition, which will lead to price increases and a curbing of book availability.
Not every monopoly is bad. Over a decade ago, the Justice Dept. took Microsoft down for being a monopoly. They forever weakened a great company that helped revolutionize computer software. The government may have been technically right to slow the giant down but I think it would have been better to have left Microsoft alone. But amazon poses a grave danger that needs to be contained.
The problem with Amazon is that they act in a predatory manner. It’s a reverse capitalism. Ideally, creative people industriously build companies and sell useful products and services at a fair-market price. Companies try to charge as much as they can until competition catches up and causes prices to decline. Amazon wants to shrink profits and sacrifice short-term profitability so they can (a) kill bookstores and (b) kill publishers. They own 60% of the e-book market and over 30% of the overall book market.
Those numbers will balloon soon.
The government just allowed Amazon to pursue its scorched earth policy by smacking Apple and the biggest publishers with legal troubles.
The only thing that will save the book industry is for Amazon to be sued by the government or for shareholders of Amazon to abandon a stock that trades way over its profitability. I believe Amazon had done a lot of good years ago to promote e-commerce and offers great customer service, but when it comes to how it operates within the book industry it can be seen as nothing less than the greatest threat to the industry. It’s more dangerous than censorship, book bans, and price collusions put together.
Consumers need to do their part, too. They must buy from bookstores and support their local communities and the printed book. They should buy e-books from Apple, the Nook, and other e-reader sources. If we don’t act soon, Amazon Qaeda will have won a victory that won’t be easy to reverse.
1. Darcie, how did you get involved in children’s books? When the towers went down I was in the woods building a log cabin. I was at peace, while the world was going crazy. I noticed that children were afraid and worrying just like their parents. That’s when I decided I wanted to write children’s books that would entertain their minds and help keep them from worrying about things in the world. They will have plenty of time for that later in their lives. That is when I started writing The Peably series, which I offer free to read on my website. Since then I have written 100’s of stories. I just signed with Jennifer Etherton Literary Agency and am hoping for the best.