If you don’t want to read through Charles Stross’ whole post, as well as the links therein: Amazon has been systematically tightening the screws on the big six large publishers, which is tightening the screws on the authors, even big ones like Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling’s newest pen name). Last time Amazon did something like this, a number of brand new authors had their careers collapse into the gutter. No fun. The damage against the authors isn’t something the publishing companies are doing, by the way, it’s just fallout from the bigger fight. Amazon has 85-90% of the ebook market share right now, and a huge chunk of the physical book market. Calling it anything but a monopoly seems like a stretch at best. Hell, it’s worth five times any of the publishing companies it’s pushing around. (Give or take a few billion, not that Amazon would notice.)
Turns out free market capitalism kinda fucks over fiction writers, since their profit margins are so low anyways that when their customer-end distributor (Amazon) decides to profit at their expense, it starts driving them out of business. Thanks, Jeff Bezos! (Shockingly, a libertarian is using ruthless business practices that damage their own industry and suppliers in the long term in favor of short term profits on their end! Shocking. Oh well, I’m sure it’s a one time occurence.) (Despite my dislike of his business practices, he did found Blue Origin, which does give hims some points in my book).
What can we lowly peons do? Well, not much, other than buying our books and ebooks elsewhere.