Do we need to be worried about Amazon?
It wasn’t a love of books that led him to start an online bookstore. “It was totally based on the property of books as a product,” Shel Kaphan, Bezos’s former deputy, says. Books are easy to ship and hard to break, and there was a major distribution warehouse in Oregon. Crucially, there are far too many books, in and out of print, to sell even a fraction of them at a physical store. The vast selection made possible by the Internet gave Amazon its initial advantage, and a wedge into selling everything else. For Bezos to have seen a bookstore as a means to world domination at the beginning of the Internet age, when there was already a crisis of confidence in the publishing world, in a country not known for its book-crazy public, was a stroke of business genius.
Via the New Yorker
Cory Doctorow focuses on author Andrew Hyde, who recently “wrote and self-published a great-looking travel book” via the usual ebook retail channels but later experienced “sticker-shock” after learning that Amazon was charging huge fees to deliver the ebook to customers.
Amazon’s total fees ate away almost a third of Hyde’s royalty: The book retails on Amazon for $9.99, and under the 70% percent royalty plan Hyde imagined he would get $7. But Amazon charges $2.58 per download to deliver the ebook, with the author’s royalty being calculated on what’s left after the delivery fee is deducted.
via What does it cost to deliver an ebook?.
Why does Amazon now have customers do the search chores it used to do for them, and in innovative ways?
Search Gets Lost | The Nation.
In Germany, fixed-price laws curtail the power of retail chains and help to sustain a vibrant literary culture.
How Germany Keeps Amazon at Bay and Literary Culture Alive.
Amazon got big fast, hastening the arrival of digital publishing. But how big is too big?
The Amazon Effect | The Nation.