This cover story in Book Business by Mark Henricks points to seismic changes in the publishing industry induced by the powerful online retailer, Amazon. He starts by noting the following Amazon actions as evidence that Amazon is having a significant, perhaps game changing impact:
- the continuing refinement of the Kindle e‑book reader,
- Amazon’s offer to authors for royalties of 70 percent of retail,
- the splashy launch of Amazon Publishing,
- Amazon’s forceful pursuit of exclusives for its various publishing channels and
- the rumored plans for brick-and-mortar bookstores
He then quotes Mike Shatzkin, founder and CEO, The Idea Logical Co. (and a confirmed plenary speaker for the 2012 Charleston Conference) who seems even more convinced of Amazon’s influence. Mr Shatzkin thinks that “Amazon is certainly the most powerful single force for change in the industry” and although he admits that Amazon has gotten there via a “great strategy and great execution,” Shatzkin thinks “they constitute a threat in some way to every other player in the industry.”
Mr. Henricks also quotes Michael Norris , senior analyst with Simba Information and Joe Wikert , general manager and publisher at O’Reilly Media as he goes on to discuss Amazon’s influence on issues like:
- The Problem With Pricing
- Doing Digital Rights Wrong
- Self-Publishing Redefined
- A New Publisher In Town
- A Role For Regular Retail?
- Amazon’s future.
Admittedly, there is a lot to digest in this article but it is worth the effort. Getting a better grasp of Amazon’s impact and it’s role in today’s book world may be essential in anticipating upcoming changes and transitions.