Those of us who love books agree there is nothing like a book store that offers books and comfortable seating - coffee is an added bonus. But our book buying experience is fast changing.
The name Amazon is known worldwide. And why not, it's the world's largest online retailer. Over the past 20 years it has used books to benefit. Yet, it sell almost all of its books at a loss. So where does its profit come from? The answer is in the form of 'fees' publishers pay in order to have their titles listed. So it is fees and not book buyers that drives how a book is displayed.
Amazon does not do interviews, does not accommodate the press with information.
It is powerful enough to be able to hide behind its wall of silence.
Recently Forbes magazine estimated that Amazon controls some 50% of book sales
in the States. Amazon, founded by the dynamic Jeff Bezos, has virtually no competition,
certainly not in the ebook area. According to columnist Amanda Foreman, recently writing in The Sunday
Times this is due to predatory pricing, strategic takeovers and tax avoidance.
So how are books faring? The answer is not well. The book trade has never been more vulnerable to distortion. Of necessity, it seems, publishers are going along with Amazon, and for survival they will have to continue to do so until market regulators step in