Monday, July 14, 2014

Ebook consolidation and inconvenience in Japan

There has been a lot of kvetching of late from publishers (and their allies) about the market power of Amazon. It has also become trendy for authors (even those who profit tremendously from Amazon's publishing platform) to condemn Amazon as a "bully"…or something like that. The anti-Amazon movement has become something of a bandwagon.

However, these folks overlook the fact that Amazon is good for readers, who ultimately pay the bills of the publishing industry, anyway. 

Amazon makes it easier and cheaper to buy books, much more so than those over-romanticized corner bookstores, with their sparse selections, undiscounted books, and overpriced coffee.

In Japan the book retailing market is far more fragmented, largely due to restrictive laws designed to keep the market fragmented

And Japanese consumers are paying the price as the market moves toward a natural state of consolidation, nonetheless:

“Although it has now been surpassed by the United States, Japan was once the world’s largest market for e-books, thanks to the early success of the cellphone-content business. But in today’s competitive market, e-book sellers disappear every few months, leaving consumers to wonder whether the digital products they are buying are as permanent as paper books.”

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