Should badly behaving authors scare us all into abandoning reviewing, what would a world without us look like?
No Netgalley distributing free Advance Reader Copies. No Amazon reviews. No book blogger reviews. No Goodreads / Librarything / Booklikes / Leafmarks.
Reviewers and bloggers provide free advertising. Without it, sales would go down. Publishers would be forced to spend more on traditional marketing options, pushing up customer pricing.
Perhaps more professional reviewing positions would open up again in news organisations, although many of us have learned to distrust such reviews, so it’s arguable as to whether this would benefit publishers’ bottom lines.
What would happen to Amazon?
Their sales would also decline. There’s a reason why we can review on their site. Would Amazon still maintain a monopoly in bookselling? I’m not sure. Much of the traffic driven to Amazon is from Amazon Affiliates, many of whom are book social networks (remember, Goodreads has over 20 million members) and book bloggers. Without as many referrers and human recommenders, Amazon would have to rely on its recommendation engine.
I’m assuming that its low, low prices would go the way of the dodo after the substantial drop in traffic, and therefore sales. Low profit margins rely on a high quantity of sales, without those prices have to increase in order to remain profitiable.
Amazon may not have wiped out enough of its competition to still profit from the lack of other book retailers, so those left may benefit from an increase in custom as their prices won’t seem so expensive anymore.