I consider that Amazon is the best option for self publishing and small publishing houses. I even wrote an article several months ago, explaining why Amazon is a better option than Barnes & Noble for electronic publishing: Barnes & Noble y Amazon: inmigrante y nativo digitales (Barnes & Noble and Amazon: immigrant and native of the new digital age) BUT no one is a star forever, and because today Amazon is the largest online book store in the world that doesn’t mean that it will be tomorrow.
Amazon was the first online store in the States, but was not born GLOBAL. ITunes was born global and right now is the new global competitor to the new online store Google Play, and of course to Amazon too.
We are in an era of social networks reviews, criticisms, and recommendations moving at light speed and Google Play had made a smart move. Google Play reproduces the reviews from other webs: Goodreads, Walmart, Overstock, and in that way Google Play’s reviews could jump very quickly to thousands. One example with one recent book: the biography of Steve Jobs has 4,782 reviews at Google Play, while Amazon.com has 1,278. By the way, a friend of mine wanted to buy that book in Spanish, it is on sale in Amazon, but he couldn’t find it. The result: he bought it at ITunes.
Itunes as well as Google Play are global online stores. Amazon has national online stores in Canada, China, France Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and United Kingdom. But I could not buy ebooks in Amazon Spain from the States, and the worst problem: The reviews published by Amazon in Spain are segregated from those published in the United States preventing potential buyers to go to one Amazon site to check all reviews on a particular book now segregated in all the Amazon sites of different countries. That translates into a diminished sales potential because we are in the era where socialized recommendations are decisive to enhance sales rates. Let me provide a concrete example. One recent success in self publishing was achieved by author Eva Garcia Saenz with her novel La saga de los longevos (The saga of the long-lived). This book has 18 reviews in Amazon.es but only 3 at Amazon.com. This is certainly something bad in an era of sales through socialized recommendations.
NOTE: I am sending this letter to Amazon.com and I am going to post if I receive any answer. Let’s check out the level of excellence of the Costumer Service of what is still the largest online book store.