I posted this as a comment over at An American Editor who has an interesting piece on Amazon. I thought it was worth putting it here too.
I think we should judge Amazon by BOTH its words AND its actions. The result is different than just listening to the spin.
So Amazon says only the reader and writer are needed YET:
1) It has invested huge resources in building, developing, rolling out and marketing a publishing platform and a reading device (KDP and Kindle)
2) It invested resources in selling ebooks (both by selling them below cost when publishers wouldn’t play ball and by promoting them in premium page space)
3) It has hired serious editors and publishing types to acquire and edit books (and there are ample stories online about those hires)
4) It has acquired serious (and well paid) writers of various genres
Amazon’s words say one thing but it spends its money like it BELIEVES that there is room for more than one kind of model. Amazon SPENDS ITS MONEY like it believes in various forms of mediation between author and reader. It SAYS it doesn’t believe in anything other than Author Reader to scare the crap out of everyone else and draw attention from the fact that it is building a platform to provide really good publishing services to authors and really good reading services to readers.