Saturday, 5 May 2012
Amazon - monopolistic monster or empowering giant
"The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore." An Apple Spokesman
Amazon have gotten where they are by offering a great service and by being easy to deal with when something goes wrong. and Amazon is today, by some margin, the largest bookseller in the world.
Amazon are not all that popular with publishers because of their aggressive marketing and their ability to set their own terms, but Amazon don't see this as a problem and with their KDP (Kindle direct publishing) program they seemed to be questioning the very need for a publisher at all. And the price fixing between Apple and a number of big publishers which is now getting a lot of publicity due to several law suits, make Amazon look like the good guys after all.
Though Amazon do now seem to be flexing their muscles and they have moved into publishing themselves and have several imprints offering both eBooks and print books, But it is difficult to charge Amazon with wanting to be the world's only publisher when they make it so easy for anyone to become a publisher using their KDP system. Traditional publishers need to innovate and adapt to the new digital world and rather than fight Amazon the real battle should be to ensure they have a very real presence in the digital book world. The agency system of selling eBooks was never going to work and has only resulted in making Amazon the good guys, the company of the people...the truth may be vastly different but it doesn't matter. What does matter is how book buyers perceive them and the service they provide.
Love them or loath them, Amazon do offer a brilliant service.