[T]he internet has transformed some classic intermediary industries—most notably retail—in ways that empower a small number of supersize middlemen. More online shoppers start their search on Amazon than on any other website, including Google. Amazon, which started out as just a virtual version of the classic bookstore, has evolved into a middleman among middlemen; rather than set up their own e-commerce systems, smaller producers and resellers sell on Amazon—but doing so costs them. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Amazon’s cut of third-party sales increased from 19 percent in 2014 to 34 percent last year. Yet the number of sellers that use Amazon also continues to grow.
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