Is Amazon taking the Hatchet to Consumer Choice?

Everyone’s talking about the Amazon/Hachette war and its effects on authors, publishers and book sales, but there’s another group that will suffer collateral damage in the longer term – readers.

Amazon is attempting to dictate terms to the publishing industry, so the debate has tended to centre on money and the plight of authors caught between two brawling, commercial giants.

Let’s play ‘what if’ for a moment. What if major publishers around the globe decided to pull their books? What if they partnered with an existing ebook platform that is not controlled by Amazon and set up a rocking ecommerce site?

I’m not talking about back catalog. I’m talking new titles from well-known authors; the kind eagerly awaited by fans.

Short answer – future readers would still be able to buy books on Amazon. The books would be second-hand imprints and a torrent of unknowns with 99 cent self-published ebooks.

In this best case scenario, the future reader’s choices on Amazon would be limited, but they would have the option to visit the dedicated website for publishers and order their favourite author’s new book.

Or they could go retro and buy a paperback in a bookstore!

Worst case scenario: Hachette caves and Amazon decides the worth of every book on its site.

Say goodbye to the publishing industry, and hello to the snore-inducing level playing field of global economics. Believe me that will not be an exciting read!

What are your thoughts? Do you think Amazon will win the war and lose customers?

Consumer Expert KM Steele

KM Steele holds a PhD from Macquarie University and has academic and creative work published in various journals and online, including ABR, Skive, Australian ejournal of Theology, Colloquy, Transnational Literature, Ripples and Antipodes.