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Amazon’s rising monopoly

Over at Slate, technology columnist Farhad Manjoo offers an analysis of how the Kindle 2 skews the emerging market for e-books in Amazon’s favour, to the detriment of authors, publishers, libraries, chain bookstores, indie bookstores, and, not least, readers. More so than other forms of digital media (MP3s, video games), the book biz is built on an ecology of sharing, Manjoo argues:

First, we’ve decided that books should be sharable “ when you buy a book, you can pass it along to others freely. In fact, governments and large institutions actively encourage the practice; we build huge, beautiful buildings devoted to lending books to perfect strangers. We’ve also decided that there should be an aftermarket for books: When you buy a book, you’re also buying the right to sell that book when you’re done with it. This not only helps people who can’t afford new books, it also encourages those who can afford them to buy more “ it’s much less risky to buy a $30 hardcover if you know you can sell it for $15 in six months.