How Amazon’s Success Destroys Itself?

Earlier, Serdar linked to an excellent article by Baldur Bjarnson (current winner of ‘The Most Viking Name Ever’ six years running) and his fascinating analysis of Amazon’s situation and what they (or someone else) should do.

Of course I say “read the article” but part of why you come here is hard-hitting analysis, deep insight, and guys making fun of people’s names.

His essential argument is that Amazon has a surprisingly weak position, margin issues, technical issues, and strengths with vulnerabilities.  The end result could be a market like the ever-dismalifying comics market in his opinion.  His arguments are pretty solid.

However his most fascinating argument is that Amazon’s integration could destroy it.  As bookstores disappear and less publications are seen, Amazon could end up catering to a specialist audience.  It’s sad to say, but people already aren’t reading enough books anyway (in my opinion), and I can see a case where e-Books end up having issues finding audience due to lack of awareness and competition that never existed before.

I’ve chewed over this idea as it seems to fit some other models – extraction models.  Amazon runs on pretty tight margins (if not “no margins” in some ways).  This could be seen like any extraction industry, or even as a flashback to the “getting eyeballs” from the pre dot-bomb day, neither of which are exactly encouraging metaphors.  There’s already plenty of competition in the form of open formats or even that clunky but beloved format PDF.

So after reading this article, here I sit, teetering on the abyss, and wondering if Amazon actually will turned out to have messed up.  Having been through many Comic Meltdowns, the metaphor sits in my mind uncomfortably – weird variants, cool promotions, hopeful indies, price arguments, and even a narrow channel (Diamond).

Steven Savage