Competition for Amazon

June 5, 2014

Going back to Adam Smith, economists have been fans of competition. The more competition the better, with the producer giving the best combination of price, quality, and service getting your business. Think about your worst customer experience. There’s a good chance it was with a monopoly, either private (cable?) or public (DMV?).

So where does that leaves us with Amazon? We’ve heard that Amazon has too much market power in the book business. If you have the same concern, you can buy books from one of its competitors — see, for example, the links here. Would that be a good thing? 

I’m not sure. Your view may differ, but when I looked at the options, I thought Amazon did the best job. Diane Coyle expresses a similar ambivalence: “[M]ore competition for Amazon would be good. [But] the links on this blog are all to the Amazon site because the[ir] associates programme … brings in £30-50 a month.” Come to think of it, that’s a good idea, I’ll get Kim Ruhl on the case.

Update:  Just ran across this similar opinion from an author, and the opposite from Stephen Colbert.

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