Amazon & the Future of Publishing

This issue keeps popping up on my radar. Even on Twitter, and through the recent #140 character conference, the question remains on what will happen to big publishing if they don’t change. At BEA in 2009, it was noted that big publishers are in greater financial dire straights than the little indie publisher. The NY Big Boys are still working on an antiquated business model that’s approaching its 100th birthday.

Times have changed.

The way people read has changed. The way people process information has changed.

I’ve reprinted the below article with links intact. Please go to the site there and read the comments.

Original TeleRead Source.
by David Rothman

E-books are just in their infancy. Amid worries that Amazon carries too much clout in E and elsewhere, that’s how some people shrug off the antitrust risks.

Much will change in e-bookdom. And meanwhile Google is gearing up to compete more directly against Amazon.

But what about POD, traditional paper books, and many other tricky areas—not to mention Amazon’s vast collection of user comments on books? Or how about the Kindle and the use of proprietary format, along with Amazon’s dissing of the ePub standard?

Is it possible that Amazon’s combined resources do give it an unfair advantage over rivals—perhaps even worthy of notice from the U.S. Justice Department and similar agencies elsewhere?

Timely Time article

image I read with interest, then, a Time Magazine piece headlined, “Is Amazon taking over the book business?” Yes, it mentions the Kindle, and it leads with an example of Amazon’s Encore program to refine and remarket Legacy (right) and other books from small houses.

Could the Time essay be one reason why Jeff Bezos said this week he regarded the Kindle and e-books as separate businesses, and why he at least indirectly implied that the Kindle might soon be able to read the ePub standard?

Such moves would be smart ways to deal with the concerns that the Time piece raised about Amazon’s activities in a number of areas. Excerpt:

As numerous publishing journalists and bloggers have pointed out, Amazon has diversified itself so comprehensively over the past five years that it’s hard to say exactly what it is anymore. Amazon has a presence in almost every niche of the book industry. It runs a print-on-demand service (BookSurge) and a self-publishing service (CreateSpace). It sells e-books and an e-device to read them on (the Kindle, a new version of which, the DX, went on sale June 10).

A great blog post on some changes and what writer’s need to do to keep up

<blog post first published in June 2009>


These articles are from nearly two years ago. Do you think the information therein is still valid?
Should emerging authors spend their time and resources seeking out a literary agent and a big boy publisher?

What do you think about the changes in the publishing industry? Do you want to embark on a self-publishing adventure through eBooks or would you rather wait for a NY publishing deal? Why?

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Great links, Christine! Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Terry Mixon says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your insight.

    I’ve only had one short story picked up by a print anthology, but I’m testing the indie waters and doing it myself with several novels I’ve put up for free in the past. With suitable editing anrewritingng to bring them up to my current standards.

    If they do well, I’ll likely write new books that don’t have to go through the hit or miss of being accepted and waiting years to see in print for a few months. Even at a lower income off the ebook sales, I suspect I’ll make more in the long run. And the long tail is what matters.

  3. The problem with publishing in general is that we authors are never completely in control. Amazon is a fantastic deal for many authors right now, but they could change the rules at any moment. I’m betting that Amazon and some of the big six publishers will strike future deals for their mutual benefit. Hopefully the authors and readers will benefit, too. Keep your seat belt fastened and stay on the ride…

    1. christinerose says:

      It’s going to be a wild one.

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