Having been put in the "stir" by the L.A. Times, and since every writer with an opinion (which is basically all of them--which is why we are writers) has to chime in on KDP Select*, here's my take:
1. More books for more readers.
2. Chance for writers to meet new readers.
3. Chance for readers to meet new writers.
Risks? Sure, but mostly for authors. This could signal the downward spiral of the value of ebooks, which could lead to fewer people bothering to write them and eventually fewer new books for people to read.There's the possibility a writer choosing Amazon exclusivity will alienate fans in other markets, but the author can opt in and out of the program every 90 days. That should give anyone truly interested in the author a chance to buy in the non-Amazon markets. Plus paper copies will be exempt from the exclusivity requirement.
Those who are screaming that Amazon is taking away the hard-earned freedom of indie authors, I have to snort coffee through my nose. Indies earned nothing (unless you were one of those who succeeded selling paperbacks out of the trunk of your car). Indies were just sitting there, largely either unpublished or cast off by the industry, when Amazon created a huge market and then let them in it. Amazon created the device, the market, and the audience, and Amazon's success forced other competitors to open up to indies and offer excellent compensation and terms. Any author who claims Amazon is "the enemy" is not working from facts but from emotion.
Every single move Amazon has made resulted in MORE money for all participating writers, MORE ebooks for all readers, and MORE opportunity instead of a monopoly (if you follow me at all, you know I'm a contrarian and I see huge, huge opportunity in the other markets now, which of course will have to do something to counter Amazon's big move.)
As The Dude says, "There are a lot of angles to this thing," but it looks like everyone wins for now. Who knows what the future will be, but did we ever know that anyway?
*This is basically a lending library for anyone who is enrolled in the Amazon Prime program. You can check out any book in the library for one month.