One of the things I keep hearing is that Amazon is disrupting the publishing business. That disruption is what allows independent authors like me to make a living in a field where - in the past - only a handful of superstars could quit their day jobs.
I've been looking at this for a couple of years now and I think we're focused on the wrong end of the paradigm.
Disruption is a technical term and happens when an innovation changes the marketplace for a new and under served populations of customers.
Who are the customers in publishing?
Certainly not the authors. Publishing has long see the authors and editors and artists less as customers than as piece work laborers, a necessary overhead cost in producing the books that they sell to the real end customers - readers.
I would argue that the disruption that Amazon has caused is in reading and they did it by changing the distribution model that a few (and shrinking) number of companies have controlled for decades. Ebooks in general and Amazon in particular gave people with limited means and limited mobility access to the community of letters in numbers that were unthinkable before. Those readers, and our ability to reach them, is what makes it possible for me to make a living writing novels.
So when the Wise and Powerful Wizard of 'Zon changes the rules, like trying out new subscription models or altering what authors get paid, remember one critically important distinction.
We're not the customers that their disruption serves. We're only the beneficiaries of that disruption.
Cash the checks and keep writing.
[This post originally shared with the Writers Discussion Group on Google+ - Aug, 2015. Nothing has changed since then.]