Is Amazon the Reader’s Friend?

Is Amazon, who accounts for 75% of all new books sold online and 67% of all e-book sales, doing right by readers and the future of books?

If you are an avid reader, published author, publisher, or bookseller, you probably have a very clear opinion on this question. No matter which side of the issue you fall, it is well worth investing 100 minutes of your time to listen to the debate in the following video; you might just change your mind—an how you buy your books.

The debate was hosted by Intelligence Squared U.S. and took place in New York City on January 15, 2015

Please share with us, in the comments section below, what you think about whether Amazon is good for readers.

  • There is a lot more to this than people understand who don’t work with Amazon. If you own a marketplace store on Amazon you have the ability to create listings. What this allows you to do is use Amazon Ads to promote your product using keywords that will allow you to show up next to other larger brands. What’s interesting however is that there are two categories where even marketplace owners can’t advertise and that’s in books and music. It’s actually a pretty disheartening thing for small publishing houses. The only recourse is to create your listing, which already exists if you use createspace, or Ingram, and input as many keywords into the listing. Unfortunately, since the listing is already there, the original listing takes precedence. But… you can’t blame Amazon for the fact that the reader is not browsing the web anymore, or that the author doesn’t often have a website and only promotes on social media which doesn’t really generate much traffic at all.

    • archceo Here is what one indie puyblisher has to say in an article last summer:

      “Ellora’s Cave sales via Amazon have dropped by as much as 75%. “We’re talking to Amazon and trying to figure out why this is happening,” Marks explained, noting that Amazon is the biggest sales channel for the digital-first erotic-romance publisher.”

      • Yeah, that’s really what I was responding to by talking about the marketplace accounts. Let me put it this way, I have my shoe company. I can run an Amazon Ad and my shoe shows up next to Nike and Adidas. As soon as I stop running the ads, my shoes disappear unless you know they are there. This doesn’t hurt because the ad cost is very cheap. But for any books I publish I can’t run an ad for those books. So EC losing those sales is completely understandable since you can’t buy ads for books or music. It’s a tough thing to deal with. When the bigger companies own a larger share of books, they can literally crowd you out of the market which is what I’m sure has happened to EC.