I really hate having to think up things that people who make a huge multiple of my yearly income should be bright enough to envision and propose on their own, but it seems this is my curse in life, so here goes.
Appropo of my prior post, emphasizing freedom of buying choice, I propose the formation of the Universal eBook Catalog.
This would list any eBook available for sale.
It would be searchable by all possible elements: title, author, publisher, price, subject matter, genre, file format (ePub and the rest), DRM, hardware, etc.
This would be a catalog that would list everything. Nothing would be verboten.
If it's on the Internet in eBook format with a pricetag, it would be listed.
The primary thing about this Catalog is that it's just that: a catalog.
It's not a bookstore.
All it does is show what's available and then offers links to where the eBook can be bought.
This would be akin to the function of, for example, The Pirate Bay, which has links to items but does not offer that content itself. (In fact, it would probably be in the best interest of everybody to have The Pirate Bay do this. Point to another group of people who have been as fearless as they have been and are!)
Listings would be absolutely free.
I see this as being underwritten by advertising.
Advertisers would be eBook makers, eBook Stores, and publishers. (I can also see TV shows and movies based on books -- or that have book spinoffs -- as advertisers.)
There's recently been a proposal for a cataloging format -- but that is only to formalize how publishers should structure their information.
This catalog would aggregate all that information in one place.
Given the actions of Apple and Amazon, I think it's time for something like this if only as a matter of self-defense.
eBooks are too important to be given up to monopolistic interests who cringe in the face of political or moral opposition.