Sramana Mitra writes in a recent article that an Amazon Monopoly that eliminates the editors, agents, distributors, and everyone else that stands between Amazon and the customer (other than the author) can actually improve publishing and increase the monetary benefit to the author. The suggestion is that by eliminating the middleman, it frees up a big chunk of the pie to be given to the author. This presumes, of course, that a greater chunk of the pie would actually be given to the author. After all, what incentive would Amazon have if it was the entire publishing, marketing, retailing arm of the book industry to pay the author anything but pennies on the dollar, kind of like what is going on now?
101 Reasons to Stop Writing has other criticisms of Mitra’s theory. I’m thinking that monopoly power over a creative industry is really not a good thing.