Amazon has done everything it can to subvert that traditional publishing industry. The first step in its devious plan was to wean readers off of the bookstores. Now it is prying writers free from their publishers.
This Fall will see more than 120 books published by Amazon across a spectrum of genres. The humble Amazon publishing venture will go through rapid acceleration, pumping out both electronic and paper form books, but stepping right in front of the moving train that is the New York publishing houses. By the way, these are the same companies which are currently star suppliers for Amazon.
Laurence Kirshbaum, a well-known veteran of the publishing industry is heading up the project for Amazon. Both fiction and non-fiction will populate their new line of books. There are already two big deals in the making. First off, an inside source revealed that for $800,000 Amazon secured the memoirs of Penny Marshall, actress and director. Secondly, Amazon signed on self-help guru Tim Ferriss.
Complaints are out by existing publishers that the monstrous company is pursuing their top-selling authors, and consuming every known service in their industry, regardless of whether it is provided by critics, publishers, or agents.
One publisher admitted that all of the publishing companies are shaking in their boots and clueless about how to handle the situation. Amazon is winning the game through the distribution muscle it has built up. This is a similar tactic to how Microsoft built its empire and put many software companies out of business.
Amazon is refusing to answer questions about how many editors it added to its staff, let alone the number of books it has contracted. Amazon executives minimized Amazon’s strength and retorted that publishers are simply being dramatic. If that does not sound like a wolf speaking out of the corner of his mouth, I do not know what does.
Russell Grandinetti speaks out of both sides of his mouth and demonstrates the only flare for drama clearly seen so far. While he says that the publishers are over-reacting, he compares what is happening to the seminal event of the invention of the printing press at Gutenberg, 600 years ago. If that is not over-dramatizing, I do not know what is. Then he conveniently tries to make Amazon vanish when he says the only thing left in the publishing process will be the author and the reader. Really? And where is Amazon? Who is “printing” and “publishing” the writings, not to mention distributing them to the readers?
The model will not change, as it did with the printing press. There will be a consolidation of the various players into one monolithic player. This is usually called a monopoly, but courts only pretend to care and fail to protect the rest of us against such infringements.
What is changing is how a novel becomes popular. No longer will there be professionals judging the works. Rather, readers will communicate with authors regarding their love of the writing, by the Neilsen BookScan sales data, namely through the fans’ purchases. Can we say this is as revolutionary as the actual, first mass printing of books? I doubt it. This smells like a marketing ploy.