Monday, October 17, 2011

Amazon put book stores out of business. Up next: publishers

The New York Times has an article about Amazon's intentions to cut publishers out of its book-selling assembly line. It will act as its own publisher, discovering, editing, and promoting authors itself without the participation of outside publishing houses. The crucial difference between Knopf or Amazon publishing a book is that Amazon controls the book-buying audience and sales. This allows them to sell their books for less, position the book with more control, and marginalize competing titles.

Some people will argue that authors shouldn't have to crawl to the publishing establishment now enshrined in NY. And it's good that Amazon is reaching out to authors who were unable to reach an audience through traditional publishing methods. However, if Amazon puts traditional publishers out of business, then it will become the establishment. An establishment that wields far more power than the current publishing houses.

Although initially Amazon's entrance into publishing may increase the power and freedom of writers, eventually Amazon's complete control of book creation and distribution will benefit only their bottom line.

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