On occasion, PG is accused of being some sort of shill for Amazon.
He’s one of the millions of fans (including shareholders bidding up Amazon stock into the stratosphere) who thinks Amazon is a cool company doing cool things in cool ways.
This goes way beyond Amazon’s participation in the book business.
Beginning in the eighties, Wal-Mart (now Walmart) was recognized as an extremely well-run retailer. Among many other innovations (including extraordinarily sophisticated computer systems way ahead of their time) Walmart was notable for putting big box stores in small communities, places other big box retailers thought were not populous enough to support a large store. Virtually all of its early growth was outside of major metropolitan areas.
In addition to substantially improving the lives of the people in those small communities (better prices, better selection, retail jobs that weren’t dead-ends), Walmart made a lot of money for people who bought its stock. Business magazines and newspapers loved writing stories about Walmart and how Sam Walton had built a worldwide empire from a single store in a small town in Northeast Arkansas.
Of course, those who saw Walmart as a business that was challenging legacy retail practices suffered from Walmart Derangement Syndrome. Suppliers complained that Walmart buyers pushed harder than anyone else for low prices and fast delivery which squeezed supplier profit margins. Competitors built fantasies that the world would be better if Walmart stopped offering every day low prices.
Customers voted with their money and made Walmart the largest retailer on the planet. Low prices helped poor people stretch their money to buy food and clothing for their families. To this day, if you want to see where local poor people shop, go to Walmart. For PG, at least some of the anti-Walmart sentiment included an element of disdain for Walmart customers.
Reportedly Jeff Bezos studied Walmart closely before he started Amazon. Every day low prices could be Amazon’s credo as well.
The response of some suppliers to Amazon – traditional publishers most notably – has reminded PG of the response of some suppliers to
Amazon Walmart. Amazon is an agent of change at least as much as Walmart was an agent of change. From the viewpoint of some suppliers, change is fine as long as they can continue to run their businesses in the way they always have.
The simple reason that PG posts so many items about Amazon is that Amazon is doing far more interesting things than any other organization in the world of books. And, with Amazon’s help, indie authors are doing far more interesting things than non-indie authors are.
How many interesting things does Hachette do in a week? Could you build a blog around the latest developments from Randy Penguin?
While PG appreciates all authors, all too often, he sees talented authors who are traditionally published limited by their publishers.
Indie authors often act like Amazon has set them free.
PG likes posts about freedom and innovation.