Re: Support your local library by using it
"The problem is we are all living in a post-scarcity era"
Last time I checked, the number of actual authors able to make a bloody living from writing was still relatively low. All that's happened is that the 'scarcity' has shifted to the content creators, rather than the content itself.
Authors aren't "gouging" anyone. Hell, Amazon actually offer a very good deal for authors who publish directly through them, or one of their in-house imprints.
Not only that, but they make it astonishingly easy to do. Compared to some of their rivals, publishing through Amazon directly is an absolute dream. They really do *grok* good design in the same way Apple do. And they don't limit the process solely to their customer-facing components either. Authors get the same attention to detail, and get published *within hours*, whereas a Big Publisher will sit on a manuscript for anywhere up to 18 *months* before publishing it.
I can do my own PR and marketing—Big Publishing only do a big splash if you're already a big name; I can hire a freelance editor myself; I don't need a massive advance that may, or may not, actually be paid...
... and I don't need to decipher some of the world's most creative accounting to work out why my "#1 New York Times Bestseller" has apparently not turned a penny in profit for me, while netting my publisher hundreds of thousands. Amazon, Apple and their peers pay *much* better than any of the traditional publishers. And they won't try and fleece you through onerous contracts that effectively assign your copyright to them for life.
It's Big Publishing who are screwing up on a massive scale. Simon & Shyster, Hatchet, and their ilk, can get stuffed. All of them. They dropped the ball many years ago and they're just flailing about in desperation now.
As for Amazon's dominance: it would *really* help if people stopped treating design like the unwanted ginger stepchild of software development. Anyone who's ever fought their way through Kobo's system will welcome Amazon's far easier system with open arms. Kobo's site is truly, truly awful. I'm sure they mean well, but it's easy to see why they've struggled to make any kind of impact.
It's a shame Steve Jobs' 'smoking gun' email caused Apple so much damage as they're Amazon's only real competition here. And for the same reason: they go out of their way to make extracting cash from customers as simple, easy and painless as possible. Their rivals seem to be hell-bent on making it as hard as possible for anyone to buy their products, or sell products through their marketplaces.
Amazon and Apple got where they are today by offering people what they wanted. Their rivals have had their clear, obvious lessons right in front of their faces for well over a decade now, so they have only themselves to blame for their own failure to learn from them.