David Gaughran is proving himself to be one of the most intelligent independent commentators in contemporary publishing. In a razor sharp post on media bias in the coverage of Amazon, he dissects the overwhelmingly anti-Amazon stance reflected in the media. It’ s a post worth reading in full, including a very valuable summary of why a neutral standpoint on the big A is entirely credible.
For the record, I’m neither pro-Amazon or anti-Amazon. I have a reasonably positive disposition towards them as a customer and as a supplier because its actions have tended to be pro-reader e.g. reducing prices and pro-author e.g. paying 70%, creating a more level playing field than other retailers.But I also know that Amazon is a business and a very large corporation and will ultimately only look out for itself – like all corporations do, which is their fiduciary duty to their shareholders. I have had no problem criticizing Amazon in the past when I felt it deserved it e.g. the dumb, regressive Whispernet Surcharge or the worrying precedent of non-fixed payments in KDP Select.So I don’t blindly “trust” Amazon whatever that means. I adopt the appropriate level of skepticism to all companies in the fetid swamp that is publishing and, increasingly, to news reports on the business too.
Much if not all of the negativity towards Amazon is rooted in emotion. Bottom line, many people in publishing have or are about to lose their jobs because of Amazon. That’s exactly the kind of fearful, pressured situation that leads people to respond on the basis of uncontrolled emotion.
But Amazon isn’t destroying the world, or even publishing. In actual fact, it has put in to place an entire, much more efficient publishing infrastructure that publishers *should* have put in place themselves a decade ago. And now amazon is reaping the rewards. And, as the self-publishing revolution continues, so in fact are authors.
Change sometimes looks like destruction. The trick is nt to react from emotion, and to see what is being created in place of the things that have been destroyed.