We’ve heard speculation and criticism for years about how Amazon is ruining the book selling and publishing industries, along with affirmations that Amazon has done more for the business of books than anyone since Gutenberg. But what will the industry look like when Amazon is the last player in the industry, when the dire warnings go unheeded and there are no more booksellers or publishers?
Before Amazon emerged, there were six major publishing houses, each with several imprints; Amazon indirectly had a significant impact on their finances through the ebook price fixing investigation that resulted in settlements in the hundreds of millions of dollars from the publishers alone. As for bookselling, Amazon’s original purpose in life, the industry has already seen the loss of the Borders chain, the life support efforts of Barnes and Noble, the closing of the Sony Reader store 9US), and a significant drop in promotional efforts in the US from Kobo.
Are companies throwing up their hands in defeat because they cannot compete with Amazon’s herculean efforts? Or are they more accurately signifying that Amazon simply does it better, and therefore consumers shouldn’t bother finding an alternative?
In a post for Dear Author, Jane Litte provided an in-depth look at some of the numbers involved in being–and competing against–Amazon. The end result, according to Litte, is going to be a reduction in discoverability for titles and a reduction in profits for authors when there are no other options for bookselling.
We’ve been asking the question for years: what will it take to bring down Amazon? For the time being, it seems like no one has the answer, and no one is looking for it.