IS AMAZON THE SAURON OF PUBLISHING?
"Choosing to open a science fiction and fantasy imprint is significant, especially when one notes the line in the press release that says, “47North will publish original and previously published works, as well as out-of-print books.” [Emphasis mine.] Speculative fiction has a good reputation as being a genre with a solid long-tail: backlist sales, when the books are available, remain strong. Readers who discover SF and discover an author tend to buy everything by that author that they can get their hands on. Publishers have been running around scooping up backlist rights as fast as they can (offering half of what they offered before 2009, and a quarter of what authors can make if they electronically self-publish those same titles). For harddrive space in a server farm, Amazon will produce a crop of perennial books which will sell steadily. With a little promotion, a series can take off, and sales of that author’s other work will rise accordingly. Because of the “others also bought” feature at Amazon.com, one person’s discovery will lead to others discovering authors who haven’t been actively promoted." Stormwolf.com | @MikeStackpole
THAT CUSTOMER SERVICE THING
"There is much talk in the industry about making direct connection with readers. Opening the lines of communication is, from what I understand, a major goal. Granted, HarperCollins had to communicate with readers via Amazon (since they don’t, sigh, have that direct relationship with readers; see: where I’ve talked about this before). But every opportunity to make a connection is important. Good will is important. Critical. Essential." Booksquare | @booksquare
THE BIGGEST THING AMAZON GOT RIGHT: THE PLATFORM
"Bezos realized long before the vast majority of Amazonians that Amazon needs to be a platform. You wouldn’t really think that an online bookstore needs to be an extensible, programmable platform. Would you? Well, the first big thing Bezos realized is that the infrastructure they’d built for selling and shipping books and sundry could be transformed an excellent repurposable computing platform. So now they have the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, and the Amazon Elastic MapReduce, and the Amazon Relational Database Service, and a whole passel’ o’ other services browsable at aws.amazon.com. These services host the backends for some pretty successful companies, reddit being my personal favorite of the bunch." PaidContent | @sdkstl
IT'S TIME TO FACE THE TRUTH - A PUBLISHING RANT
"You and most self-pub authors are aware that self-pub isn’t Vanity Press. But a LOT of major publishers and folks from the publishing establishment are still viewing it as such. And a lot of new authors are being told that to self-pub is the equivalent of vanity press. Continuing to have that argument amongst ourselves is rather pointless. We know it’s not vanity press, but good luck convincing the rest of the publishing industry." Autopublisher | @allisondduncan
WILL AMAZON BE THE VICTIMS OF THEIR OWN SUCCESS?
"Of course there are always going to be cynics who are going to be suspicious of the fact that Amazon publish books, retail them and manage the bestseller list they appear on, but the risks to them of rigging the system are so immense that they would surely have to be insane to do it. Theirs is a business based on trust and if they are seen to be duping their customers their competitors are only a click away on the digital high street. Of course the real problem is that when it comes to e-books they don’t really have any competitors. Amazon are vulnerable precisely because of the fact that they control, what, 80% of the UK e-book market? 90%? More? That’s a huge way over the 40% market dominance that is the EU legal threshold for a monopoly. Of course it really is not Amazon’s fault that they have been so much more successful than their competitors and they could rightly point out that the market is still in flux. It was radically different two years ago and in two years time a new device may be as dominant as the kindle is now and they may be history." FutureBook
EPSTEIN ON THE FUTURE OF THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY
"So how does Epstein see the future of the publishing industry? “Few activities are more important than managing the content of books. The digital future is going to be a huge opportunity,” says Epstein excitedly, muttering under his breath that he wishes he were young again. “The only filter left is human nature.” Epstein believes the successful future publishing company will be like the Random House of the 1950s – just “a small group of likeminded managers” – about 8 editors, no meetings and those editors could be living in different countries. Sounds good to me – now where will I find my seven likeminded future colleagues?" Frankfurter Buchmesse Blog
ART SPIEGELMAN ON THE FUTURE OF THE BOOK
"I would say that, in the future, the book will be reserved for things that function best as a book. So, if I need a textbook that’s going to be out of date because of new technological inventions, you’re better off having it where you can download the supplements or the update. If you’re going to read a quick mystery novel to keep you amused while you’re traveling, it’s fine. None of this is about the business model. It has to do with the boutique nature of a book, the idea that, as McLuhan put it, when a technology is replaced by another technology, the previous technology either becomes art or it dies." Publishers Weekly | @bheater