I am faced with the hard decision of which battle to fight, and for me, my top priority is to create more full-time authors.
Authors are facing incredible headwinds; I want to help them market their books, increase their income, and ultimately create more full-time authors. This is the yin of Shepherd's mission (while the yang is to encourage reading by giving readers cool and unique ways to discover books).
Amazon is the biggest online bookseller, and if authors want to sell books, they need to sell them on Amazon.
I don't have the resources to take on my mission to create more full-time authors while also trying to take on Amazon (a trillion-dollar company). I am actively supporting businesses taking on Amazon, such as Bookshop.org.
Shepherd links to Bookshop.org first. We want to introduce more and more readers to them and their mission that sends almost all of their profits to independent bookstores (as of July 2022, they have sent over $21 million to Indie bookstores just in the USA).
I also plan to offer indie bookstores and libraries a free license to use any of our book recommendations in their physical space (along with promoting the author who made the recommendations). I don't know if they want to use them, but it is an idea I plan to test.
In my user testing, I have found that Amazon and local Indie bookstores are in less competition than you might think. For example, I am an avid supporter of local bookstores, but the types of books I buy from them are much different than what I buy at Amazon. I go to indie bookstores for their curated selection, to browse aimlessly, and to read in a special environment. This is what I hear from readers during user testing as well. I think a bigger threat to independent bookstores are the insane rent prices in downtown areas, the growth of ebooks, and the growth of the audiobook markets (Bookshop.org is working on the audiobook front, I hear).
I hope that helps shed a little light on where I am coming from and where I hope to go.
P.S. My direct email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever want to chat or check on this.
P.S. I am very supportive of authors fighting Audible/ACX as Audible is robbing authors of revenue with disturbing practices (same goes for ebook refunds). You can learn more here. A lawsuit is pending, and I hope it fixes this terrible behavior. Amazon also has issues with monopolistic behavior, and I am hopeful that the US government will pass laws to create a more fair marketplace over time. Many European countries have a rule that books must be sold at the same price, which is an interesting approach to this challenge.