The Long Term Reliability of the Kindle Store and Amazon

One of the major risks with e-publishing at Amazon is the Kindle Store Terms and Conditions (T&C).  Amazon reserves the right to change the terms at any time.  This is not a traditional publishing contract which, once signed, is pretty much carved in stone.  The Kindle TOS is a unilateral declaration by Amazon, it is fluid and completely arbitrary.  Amazon is a for-profit corporation.  It can immediately and frequently change the T&C to improve corporate profitability. Today the T&C are favorable and encourage indie publishing.  That could change tomorrow. Amazon could choose to immediately delete all our books, or raise their fees to 50%, or charge a 500% fee for the first 100 sales.

Amazon today chooses to be content neutral.  But tomorrow they could go FoxNews on us and delete any hint of liberal thinking.  More likely they will implement a left-wing liberal policy and delete any hint of conservative content. Do you want to write a book saying that abortion is murder?  I expect Amazon soon won't allow that in the Kindle Store.

We publish in the Kindle Store solely by the good graces of  Amazon is not a public institution and it has ZERO commitment to the long term existence of any content.  The philosophy of the library (which borders on the theology of a library) has no place in the Amazon boardroom.

The first sign of trouble in the indie publishing world will be Amazon's implementation of a fee for low volume products.  Amazon will charge a stocking fee for books which sell less than, for example, 1 copy per month.  Failure or refusal to pay the fee will result in the immediate deletion of the product, and worse yet...the immediate deletion of all purchased copies from every Kindle in the world.

Libraries were first built about 4500 years ago.  Today the relationship between Amazon and indie publishers is cordial, cooperative, and symbiotic.  I find it hard to believe this utopia can survive even a single decade.