Amazon Ups the Ante On Publishers Again

Back in August, I noted that Amazon was stepping up its nascent publishing efforts to allow authors to sell directly to its customers without going through a traditional publishing house.   Yesterday’s New York Times points out in an article entitled Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal, that Amazon is dramatically accelerating its efforts.  Should be interesting to watch.  Below are a few key pull-outs from the article: has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers.  Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres … It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers.

It has set up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran, Laurence Kirshbaum, to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction … Last week it announced a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it paid $800,000…

Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.

Several large publishers declined to speak on the record about Amazon’s efforts. “Publishers are terrified and don’t know what to do,” said Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House, who is known for speaking his mind.

“Everyone’s afraid of Amazon,” said Richard Curtis, a longtime agent who is also an e-book publisher. “If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out.

“It’s an old strategy: divide and conquer,” Mr. Curtis said.

Subscribe –  To get an automatic feed of all future posts subscribe to the RSS feed here, or to receive them via email enter your address in the box in the upper right-hand corner of this page or go here and enter your email address in the box in the upper right. You can also follow me on Twitter @cmirabile and on Google+.

Speak Your Mind


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.