A web dev has a long, thoughtful piece on how to beat Amazon:
His idea is (among other things) to have publishers create their own open ecosystem which can be exploited freely by retailers. Select quote: “You don’t want half a dozen ebook retailers competing with Amazon. You want thousands.”
The problem with that is how it affects readers. Too much choice is just as bad as no choice at all. Having a dozen physical bookstores in town provides me with a different flavor of choice than a dozen (or a dozen dozen) online bookstores. That said, if each online publisher talks to the same set of APIs and becomes outlets towards the same set of products, then the game becomes less about what’s in stock and more about customer satisfaction.
The other problem is … publishers, who continue to involve themselves with technology only when threatened to do so by Amazon-level competition (read: extinction). They still seem to think they can get out of all this by doing as little as humanly possible.