I have attended many different publishing and technology events this year, such as IDPF and Book Expo America, and covered O’Reily Tools for Change, Digital Book World, FutureBook and the London Book Fair. I have sat in on close to 70 different speaking engagements and there is one consistent theme. It is trendy to hate on Amazon.
Many speakers are capitalizing on anti-Amazon sentiments to attenuate a point or to give them instant credibility in the audience’s eyes. It’s quite easy to get a cheap pop by insulting them or to make a lighthearted joke. Almost every single speaker this year referenced Amazon or painted them in a negative light.
It is quite easy to go after a target that has seen monumental success and pioneered both e-Readers, eBooks and digital publishing. Amazon gets unjustified hatred just to get a headline.
I always laugh to myself when even well-known authors or owners of other publishing websites hate on Amazon. They often do it at the very beginning of their speaking engagements or when answering audience questions. I can expect about half of the speakers will do this and I laugh about their consistency to hate. You don’t have to insult a company or put them down just to illicit an audience response. Sure, it’s a company that everyone knows, but there is zero point in making yourself look like an idiot by jumping on the bandwagon.
Amazon is the most profitable eBook company in the world and has the most dominant line of e-readers. They have the most successful self-publishing platform and give free digital copies away when consumers buy the print book. They make the most money out of all the other resellers online. People try and emulate them in this sector, just like so many tablet and phone companies tend to emulate Apple.
I implore the greater internet at large and public speakers at publishing events to think twice before mindlessly placing blame on Amazon to get a cheap pop. If you have to seem relevant through insults and finger pointing, you don’t deserve to have people take what you say seriously.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.