I would be very interested in a blog by you on the pros and cons of (listing a book on) amazon. I know there is no easy or right answer. I do see that the very successful Edward Tufte puts his books on amazon, including his self-published classic, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.
I look forward to your Amazon dilemma blog.
The amazon dilemma is this: if authors list their books on amazon, they're promoting a corporation that discounts books to a level that undercuts local and independent bookstores. But if authors don't list on amazon, they're missing a huge opportunity to sell their books.
The answer is easier than I expected and as simple: if you feel strongly that amazon is harming the publishing industry more than helping, don't list your book. Otherwise, go ahead. If this answer seems like a cop-out, it isn't. Rather, the answer is based on reality.
Once we humans create something new, there's no going back, even though some of us may want to. We can ignore computers, antibiotics, strip malls and other modern inventions, but we can't erase them. That leaves only three choices: resist; accept, but continue to work for change; or accept.
Most authors seem to choose the middle ground. They support local and independent booksellers by 1. making public appearances at stores, 2. offering readers, via author web sites, the option of buying books through online independent bookseller sites, and 3. writing articles or offering interviews specially for those web sites.
At the same time, most authors also list their books on amazon, which does offer readers a fast, personalized way to shop for books.
What are your two cents on the subject? Let me know. In the meantime, here are a few web sites on the subject:
BookSense.com, a site where readers can shop online at the their favorite local bookstores
For Authors, a list of features to help authors better market their books on amazon
Independent Bookselling: Meaning and Prospects, an interview with Andrew Laties
Internet Bookstores Tackle Internet, a still-relevant Wired article from 2006