Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The whining of an elitist gatekeeper

The New Yorker publishes what amounts to a long whine over Amazon's effect on empowering consumers:

At the moment, those people are obsessed with how they read books—whether it’s on a Kindle or an iPad or on printed pages. This conversation, though important, takes place in the shallows and misses the deeper currents that, in the digital age, are pushing American culture under the control of ever fewer and more powerful corporations. Bezos is right: gatekeepers are inherently √©litist, and some of them have been weakened, in no small part, because of their complacency and short-term thinking. But gatekeepers are also barriers against the complete commercialization of ideas, allowing new talent the time to develop and learn to tell difficult truths. When the last gatekeeper but one is gone, will Amazon care whether a book is any good?
I'll volunteer an answer: No. Why should they? Why does the author think that commercialism and letting consumers decide for themselves whether a book is worth their time such a bad thing?

Further, Amazon has power only because consumers have given it to them because they trust Amazon - a trust that is earned but also easily taken away. The technology that has given consumers that empowerment is so easily replicated - so how powerful is Amazon when it comes to the "control of American culture", really?

No comments: