Just how big is Amazon? According to Frugal Dad Amazon's annual revenues are 34 billion; an amount that is bigger than the GDP of half of the countries in the world. Its web sales are 5X the web sales of WalMart, Target, and Buy.com combined. It serves 137 million customers per week. Its warehouses occupy the space that would be covered by 700 Madison Square Gardens. If Amazon were a country for active users it would be 2X the size of Canada.
You get the gist don't you? Amazon is a giant well on its way to becoming an economic empire. So far it has been able to leave behind every company that has competed with it, and it shows no sign of abating. Amazon is going for the jugular in many areas to leave its competition behind or destroy it completely. For example, Amazon was encouraging costumers to use a price check app when they went into brick and mortar stores to scan products sold there. If they found they could get a better price online they would get a 5% credit on Amazon. The company in effect was using customers for espionage. Another example is the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program (which I have joined). If a writer enters his/her book into this program they have to remove their books from other outlets like Smashwords or Barnes and Noble.
Amazon has been embraced by tens of thousands of writers, including myself, for delivering us from the shackles of the traditional publishing establishment. So far things are great and we are living the delirium of the revolution and the rise of the new order, but I wonder if things will be this rosy forever. After all, Amazon is a profit-driven corporation. In essence how is Amazon different from the corporations targeted by the Occupy Wall Street Movement? Do we trust it? What will happen if Amazon leaves the competition behind and establishes for all practical purposes a monopoly in publishing? Today on Amazon we get a 70% royalty on books priced $2.99 and up and a 35% royalty on books priced between $0.99 and $2.99. What happens if Amazon decides it needs more profits and reduces these margins? Of course, publishing with Amazon is a choice. We can always go elsewhere. But what happens in the future if there is nowhere else to go?
What do you think?