Is Amazon Good For Books?

Nov 6 2013 @ 7:32am

Felix Salmon suspects so:

[T]here’s an argument that Amazon has saved the publishing industry from going the way of the record labels — that it’s made buying e-books so easy that the number of free pirated versions out there is still tiny.

He thinks we confuse the decline of books with the decline of bookstores:

[A] world where you’d see a Barnes & Noble in every shopping mall, where you’d see these monster bookstores by the side of every urban highway, was a world which was constantly reminding you of how many books there are, and of how popular those books are. After all, those bookstores were kept in business by a steady stream of book lovers coming in to buy books. In their own way, B&N stores were just as good an advertisement for books in general as were the small booksellers they replaced.

So while there are just as many media-based book discussions as there always were — book reviews, book excerpts, talk shows, radio interviews, that kind of thing — the real-world reminders of the book industry as a whole have definitely shrunk.