The other day, I was sternly encouraged by one of the figureheads of German liberalism to boycott Amazon and support retail booksellers by my patronage. The appeal struck me as incongruous. To me Amazon, including the whole new ebook culture, have brought about a welcome revolution that empowers - in the best tradition of freedom and capitalism - the consumer, as well as rewarding consumer-oriented suppliers and widening the options and commercial prospects of those seeking to publish their written work.
Especially, as a rather undiscerning youngster, my mind was to a large extent shaped by the sales mix of the local book shops. With the additional help of newspapers and the school, uncontested sources of authority, my mind was being put on a one-track trail.
I suspect that with the internet's dramatically widened spectrum of knowledge offerings and increased discretion in the choice of information (including information contained in books), we are lifting the level of tolerance among us, strengthening civil society's ability to resist the political ascendancy of radically one-sided views.
In an article well worth reading, Matthew Yglesias argues that the publishing industry nowadays
adds almost no value, it is going to be wiped off the face of the earth soon, and writers and readers will be better off for it.
Make sure to read the entire post.
See also Re: Joyce.