Your savior is...Barnes & Noble?

You know, much like I don't think Amazon is either the devil or your best friend, I am truly agnostic regarding Barnes & Noble. What, deep down inside, I hope happens to them is that they fix their Web site so that it's easier to find indie books, because then more indie writers would make more money!

But stuff like this post (via PV) just baffles me. It's entitled "Why You Should Consider Buying Your E-Books from Barnes and Noble," and it says thing like, "If we want to avoid having our digital reading lives shaped by Amazon and Amazon alone, we have to support someone who can serve as a check on it. And at this moment, that’s Barnes and Noble."

You know something? When Scott Turow makes a lot of nonsensical statements about the competition Amazon faces, and when major publishers enter into nonsensical price-fixing arrangements because they are all desperately trying to preserve Barnes & Noble, I understand it. They fear the future, and Barnes & Noble represents the past, back when publishing was an industry they understood.

But when some regular Joe comes along and says, "Barnes & Noble is the only way!" I say, look around you. There are alternatives to either company. This is digital media--the field is wide open. (And I'm not the only one who has noticed--I mean, yeah, PayPal backed down, but that just means that you will have yet another way to accept payment for "Raped by Uncle Ostrich.")

And honest to God: If you are worried about what Amazon will do if it gains market share, well, why don't you try worrying about the things Barnes & Noble already did back when it had serious market share? This is a company that forced publishers to offer it special discounts on the wholesale price of books so that it could profitably underprice indie bookstores and drive them out of business. It was sued for this, and then it turned right around and tried to buy Ingram, which is a major distributor and pretty horrific at using its market power to quash other companies' competitors even when it's not owned by one of its clients. If you want to support a company that has consistently pushed the antitrust envelope and that firmly embraces the notion that publishing is an old boy's network, closed to the hoi polloi, then you really should be sure to buy your e-books at Barnes & Noble.