22 December 2012

Why Amazon is bad for all of us

Amazon is bad for all of us. Let me explain what I mean. As a hobby, I have started a tiny niche publishing house specialised in Belarusian studies. My first book cost £4 to produce; before Amazon, major book distributors commanded 50% slice of the full price. My book would probably cost £9 then. Now Amazon, virtually controlling the book market in major English-speaking countries, demands at least 70% off. This allows Amazon to offer deep discounts, however, you may have noticed that such discounts are given only to mainstream titles sold also by supermarkets and Waterstones - the only real competitors to Amazon. Via Amazon, my book has to cost at least £12 just to break even if I'm lucky. The problem is not with Amazon as such, of course; a problem is with the economical system favouring market consolidation and concentration of capital. Should we boycott Amazon? I don't think it'll change anything, it's just too late to recover the traditional book market. Just read this and buy another book or, even better, borrow it from a local or college library.