Amazon continues its shift from bookseller to book publishing company. But this time the global bookseller is joining the establishment rather than defying it.
Amazon's latest move may shrink the opportunities for independent authors and indie-publishers rather than expand them.
In an ever increasing series of bold moves Amazon continues its plan to stake out a major position in not only the bookselling business but the book publishing world as well.
In 2005 Amazon acquired CreateSpace (formerly CustomFlix Labs) and Booksurge and then in late 2009 merged the two under the CreateSpace banner, creating its first book publishing company. Next Amazon stuck its considerable foot into the "conventional" publishing arena with AmazoneEncore, creating yet another book publishing company. Which it defines as "...a new program whereby Amazon uses information such as customer reviews on Amazon websites to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors that show potential for greater sales. Amazon then partners with the authors...bla, bla, bla."
And then we have AmazonCrossing yet another book publishing company (for foreign language books deserving an English translation).
In May 2011 Amazon hired Laurence Kirshbaum the former TimeWarner CEO turned-agent as publisher to head up its New York operation, Amazon Publishing; bringing the total to 4 book publishing companies under the Amazon banner.
And in July 2011 Amazon hired Julia Cheiffetz, a former senior editor at HarperCollins, as the editorial director for Amazon Publishing making it clear that this branch of the Amazon family is embracing a traditional publishing model.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for indi-publishers to compete with the finances and clout of Amazon, especially with the Kindle e-reader access.
Kirshbaum made this statement about hiring Julia Cheiffetz. “Julia’s sharp editorial sensibility and devotion to her authors, combined with her passion for new technology, makes her the perfect choice. She offers a unique blend of an entrepreneurial mind-set built upon a strong belief in the bedrock values of traditional literary and commercial publishing.”
What are these “bedrock values of traditional literary and commercial publishing”?
Is Kirshbaum referring to keeping out the riffraff, unlike Kindle Direct and CreateSpace who let anyone enter?
While hopefully Kirshbaum’s statement was nothing more than praise for someone who did a good job at HarperCollins, it sounds like he's throwing down the gauntlet in order to distance Amazon Publishing from its two poor cousins in the POD publishing industry.
And there are rumors that Amazon is listing all Lightening Source titles (the world's largest POD publishing company) with 2-3 week delivery times.
Amazon Publishing is apparently removing themselves as an avenue for independent authors to sneak past the gatekeepers of the publishing industry with their renegade manuscripts.
It appears that rather than leveling the playing field for aspiring authors, Amazon has created no less than 4 book publishing companies in its bid to establish the world's largest fully integrated book publishing/distribution/sales operation.
Can anyone say "monopoly"?
What this means for the independent writer and indie-publisher remains to be seen.
But at the moment it doesn't look good for the inhabitants of Sherwood Forest.
In this latest variation on the fairytale; the one time Robin Hood (Amazon) seems to have tired of taking from the rich (NY Publishers) and giving to the poor (writers) and decided there was more money in being the new Sheriff of Nottingham.
Richard A. McCullough
Copyright 2009-2011 - Richard A McCullough is the creator & editor of http://www.write-better-fiction.com the Fiction Writers source for Writing Better Fiction Faster and Selling More of What You Write.
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