Today, I had a conversation with my friend Ingo about all things happening around ebooks, monopoly and the abusive prices on all retailers.
I have a formed opinion on this matter. I don't consider the Amazon ebook ecosystem as a Monopoly and here are my reasons:
The people are not trapped into Amazon from the moment they buy a Kindle. They make a choice. The choice to buy the most competitive product for reading. A mix of affordable and functional. There's no reason to go and buy a $100-$200 ereader to read one or two novels per month. The $79 Kindle is fantastic for this. Of course there are people interested in features best implemented by other companies like the PDF support by Sony.
The catalog on Amazon is the biggest and most comprehensive one available. This, together with prices similar to the other retailers leads to no need to find another source for buying an ebook.
This is called convenience. A thing that is desired by everyone. You can buy a book from a milion+ inventory wherever you are over Wi-Fi.
Also, you don't even need to buy a hardware from Amazon to enjoy the content. Like what happened with Apple, they were not accused of monopoly when they launched their successful player, the iPod or the iTunes Music Store. It was convenient. There are many apps available to read Kindle books on every major platform. Mac, PC, iOS, Android. They are not forcing you to buy a Kindle reader.
What is really wrong is the pricing. It's not possible to charge the same for an ebook and a paper book. There is no reason to that other than killing the paper book industry.
Now, the traditional guys will want to kill me but
I'm sorry, let the paper books go.
This is the future. No paper, no dead trees, no gasoline for transportation, no stocks filing warehouses up.
I know a lot of people that love the feeling when going into a bookstore, handling the books but this is only a medium. It's the past. There is no need to fiddle with your car to keep it running fine like in the past. People do not do that anymore, and don't miss it although some still like.
It's called evolution.
In the past, traveling by plane had its glamour. Nowadays it looks like you are boarding a bus but the plus side is that almost everyone can travel further because the prices went down. Everything has its price. You give up the "pleasure" of handling the paper and receive the benefit of carrying tons of books in a fraction of the weight and size.
In the end, all this stuff is just the medium, not the objective. What is important is the content, not the physical thing.
Get over it.