11 October 2014 - 10:59 am

Amazon is not your friend

Amazon, the behemoth that started out as an online bookstore.

Amazon, the behemoth that started out as an online bookstore.

There’s a lot going around about Amazon right now: in the press, on social media, blogs, forums, etc. Anyone who loves books would probably have to work hard not to hear about it. I’ve been meaning to react to it for a while but haven’t been able to get to it. I think it’s time I put my thoughts down here.

Let me start with a simple statement: Amazon is not your friend. I don’t care if you’re a reader, a writer, or a customer who buys gadgets from the megastore: Amazon is not your friend.

Amazon is a business. It cares about its bottom line (and it has historically struggled to turn a profit) and it cares about keeping its shareholders happy. That’s it. It does not care about books, the book industry, or those who create it. It doesn’t care about the ‘reader community’. It doesn’t even care about its own employees.

It is claiming the opposite. Don’t believe a word of it; this is an underhanded tactic to excuse its business practices and tactics. They’re trying to get you on their side so you don’t look too closely at what’s really going on.

From everything I’ve seen over the past year or two, Amazon is attempting to build itself a monopoly in the book industry. This is a bad thing for everyone involved in the industry, from creators to publishers to distributors to stores to consumers. There are reasons why there are laws against monopolies.

But the law would stop them if that was the case, right? Well, clearly it hasn’t yet. I’m putting together a lot of pieces and seeing a pattern, but it might not be formed enough for formal proceedings yet. I’m not sure. I’m most worried about where current actions are heading, and the damage that is being done in the meantime.

The more I think and write about this, the longer this post gets. To make it easier for everyone to digest, I’m going to break this down and post the chunks individually.

Here are the chunks I have so far:

  • Amazon vs Independent Authors: KDP Select
  • Amazon vs Independent Authors: KDP Select Fund
  • Amazon vs Big Publishing: the Hachette Battle
  • Amazon vs Authors: the Hachette Battle
  • Amazon vs Big Publishing: direct competition

Watch this space (and the Amazon tag); I’ll try to keep these pieces going up regularly.

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