Why does the Amazon books store dominate books?
Because Amazon involves readers, gives them useful and detailed information, and makes buying a book simple.
Forget all the talk about monopolies and aggressive marketing in the book industry.
Amazon sells more books than any other retailer because they involve their readers in the process and enjoyment of reading, and sells ebooks that can be read on almost any device.
The beginning of books and Amazon
It is difficult to remember now that in July 1995 Amazon began service as an online bookstore. Jeff Bezos started Amazon in the garage of his rented home in Bellevue, Washington.
Fast forward to today, and Amazon still has books at its core.
Although there are a lot of Amazon benefits for Prime members including free two-day shipping and tv shows, a free book offer is still one of them.
The Kindle e-reader is now an iconic brand.
The Fire tablet evolved from ebooks by offering an all-purpose tablet but with Kindle reading built-in. It was the experience with these two devices that helped in developing the Fire TV and Amazon Echo.
From a humble beginning in a garage, Amazon Books is now both an online sales retailer as well as having bricks and mortar bookstores.
In 2015, the addition of physical brick and mortar stores started with Amazon opening a bookstore in Seattle, Washington followed by another store in Columbus Circle, New York City.
Apart from the Amazon bookstore, it is also a publishing house for printed books.
A little history tells you that Amazon was and is all about the book market and readers.
The competition today, or lack of it
Apple is second in market share for ebooks behind Amazon. But by a huge margin.
Take one look at the Apple iBooks store, and try to find any real reader feedback.
Where are the reviews, comments and recommendations from real readers? Worse still, try to buy an ebook if you happen to live in a non-English speaking country.
The Apple iBooks platform is unfriendly, with no website. It is a complicated connection to iTunes and is slow to load.
Sure, it works if you have an Apple Mac, but it is barebones at best.
If you are an author, you will know that posting a promotional link to your ebook or ebooks on Apple is a painful process.
If you are determined, though, you can do it. But what use is it when someone finally clicks your link but uses a PC or Android and not an Apple device?
Apple iBooks started out well and was a key feature of the iPad when it launched in 2010 by Steve Jobs. Sadly though, things went wrong legally, and Apple seemingly lost heart after losing a long legal battle over ebooks.
Today, Apple is basically operating its iBooks store as an app for iPads. So for readers without an iPad or those who don’t like reading on one, bad luck.
Barnes and Noble
Then there is Barnes and Noble, which does have a website, but it still looks, feels and works like a something designed in the nineteen-nineties.
It is so outdated that as hard as I might try, B&N is still unable to update my book covers, which I changed years ago.
Again, like Apple, where is the reader interaction on B&N? Reviews? There are a few. So, okay, it beats Apple on one count.
The Nook started out reasonably well, but a string of bad business decisions, particularly in the UK, has meant that the Nook is almost out for the count.
B&N still survives in the US due to old-fashioned customer loyalty. But elsewhere, it is going nowhere.
I hate to criticise Smashwords. Of all the ebook retailers and self-publishing platforms, it is the one I have wanted and wished would become a winner for many years now.
Sadly, though, Smashwords has entrenched itself as a book publishing aggregator to Apple, B&N and others, of which many have come and gone over the years, and decided against becoming a fully-fledged retailer in its own right.
This is a disappointment because although Smashwords still has an online ebook store, it will live or die by the success or failure of its aggregated retailers.
As Apple and B&N aren’t setting the book world on fire, and a number of Smashwords’ aggregated retailers have closed or have failed to live up to expectations, the future is not bright for Smashwords to sell a lot more ebooks in the future.
Amazon continues to innovate with books
It is fair to say that the Amazon share of the book market amounts to a monopoly on books. But it is also fair to say that no one has determinedly challenged it.
Yet, even with so little competition, Amazon is not standing still.
Amazon extended its involvement for readers through its purchase of Goodreads. Where are the social platforms for Apple or B&N readers?
Kindle Cloud Reader
The Cloud Reader is another example of Amazon’s books and readers first ethos.
It is a web browser service that allows anyone with an Amazon account to read Kindle books.
With Kindle Cloud, readers can use the web app to use pre-orders, buy or get free books from the Kindle Store and then store and read their Kindle ebooks on any device that has a browser.
There is no need to be Amazon Prime members or even to use the Kindle app.
It is an open platform for readers to be able to access and read Kindle books.
There is no secret as to why Amazon sells more ebooks than any other retailer.
It is not simply that it has a monopoly. It is because it has built an ecosystem around ebooks and books that has involved readers at every level.
As hard as some may argue, Amazon is not a monopoly because of unfair business practices.
It has done the job of selling ebooks a lot better than its competitors and gained a lion’s share of the market as a result.
For self-publishing authors, Amazon is way ahead of the pack in so far as gaining book sales is concerned.
As long as you take the time to list your book in selective niche categories and choose seven competitive keywords, you stand a very good chance of selling books. You can use Publisher Rocket for this task.
There are many things one can say about Amazon, good and bad, but at the end of the day, it sells more books than any other retailer for a very good reason.
The Amazon book market share is huge because Amazon does books better than anyone else.
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
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