Depending on who you speak with Amazon is either already a monopoly or working real hard at becoming one. Truth be told, I do a lot of shopping at Amazon.com, not just books, but electronics, household items, even clothes. The selection is unparalleled, prices are affordable, and delivery is quick, when using Prime. Do I wish them continued success? Sure. Do I want them to become a monopoly? No.
Much continues to be written about the ongoing spat between Amazon and Hachett Publishing. I’m on the side who wants the market to dictate eBook prices. Right now that appears to be Amazon. You can read their position here. Though many traditionally published authors remain on both sides of the argument, what Hachette is demanding is higher eBook prices, plain and simple. They want to set eBook prices and pay Amazon a share like they do in the iTunes Store. A practice, I might add, employed by Apple to lure publishers away from Amazon. Amazon wants to continue working like any other wholesaler, buying the books at one price and selling them for what they decide is a fair amount. Is that evidence of creating a monopoly?
Granted if Amazon can afford to sell eBooks cheaper than anyone else can they will be on their way to becoming a monopoly by attrition. That is where the Kindle in all its forms comes in. The pricing on the Kindle, however, suggests the opposite. Those devices are offered at an inexpensive price to drive eBook and media sales. So all this talk about monopoly is at best a cautionary warning and at worst pure fear mongering. My opinion is that right now and in this particular case Amazon is doing what is best for Amazon. If that means eBook prices stay “reasonable” then it is a benefit for consumers. If it gets to the point where a monopoly is looking like a real possibility then my opinion may change. Let me know what you think in the comments.