Amazon Moves Into Publishing
Friday, October 21, 2011
Last week Amazon had its second Campfire conference, bringing a group of writers together for an under-the-radar gathering in Santa Fe, NM. Kurt Andersen attended last year, and he felt the company was trying to soften up the literary establishment as it moves toward publishing. In recent months Amazon has been hiring highly respected editors, and the company is putting out 122 titles this fall.
Amazon is already the world's largest retailer of books, helping to put chains like Borders out of business. As a publisher, it will be selling its own products alongside products by the "big six" publishers — who are not only partners, but now rivals as well.
Jason Boog, editor of the book industry blog GalleyCat, tells Kurt that Amazon is poised to become the next big powerhouse in publishing. It comes at a sensitive time. "We're watching the publishing industry contract, because digital books don't bring in the same margins of profit that you would see with a hardcover," Boog notes. "As Amazon taps into these millions of people that want to self-publish, they're going to have a tremendous distribution channel."
Boog, who is writing a book about how the publishing industry weathered the Great Depression, thinks despite the new competition publishers will survive. "The ultimate effect of having Amazon in there is we're going to see a smarter publishing industry," he says. "We're not going to just print 100,000 copies of a book and see what happens."
Does it matter to you who publishes the books you buy? Is Amazon good for books and literature, or not? Tell us in a comment below.