Kindle is a runaway train heading for Manhattan, and as it roars through Penn Station and under the city, it is shaking the foundations of New York’s oldest trade publishers. Increasing eBook sales mean increasing cost per unit for print books, since fixed production costs will be amortized over fewer print unit sales. Trade publishers are struggling to exercise pricing power in an environment that demands cheap eBooks, and where the temptation of underselling competitors on all but the biggest brand-name authors is ever present.
I think it’s clear that wherever the Kindle train is heading, Amazon is driving, and the big trade publishers have little choice at this point other than buying a first class ticket and making up to the engineer. At some point, perhaps in just another year or two, Kindle may represent a large enough percentage of trade sales that even name authors will be better off jumping ship and taking their own seat on the Kindle train. Yes, some authors will stick with the trades in return for fawning attention over their delicate genius, but writing for most authors is a business. When Amazon Kindle represents a better business opportunity than greater paper sales at a lower royalty, Amazon will take the prize.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
I don’t like the idea of the most powerful company selling ebooks having a stranglehold on what people can read. Do you?
Nature hates monopolies. Nature never gives one thing all of the power. Only human beings are stupid enough to do that.
At some point, this train is going to jump the tracks and hurt everyone.