Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Amazon Seeks (Publishing) World Domination

Things are changing so fast in the publishing industry it can leave your head spinning. Earlier this week, Amazon announced that they would be publishing a romance line, Montlake, and three of the Big Six publishers announced that they would be opening a joint, online retail site, Bookish. (Read the Publisher's Weekly article.)

Amazon made it clear that this is the first of several publishing imprints. Below is an excerpt from Publisher's Marketplace:

Amazon Launches Romance Imprint, with More Genre Lines to Come
Amazon is launching another imprint, Montlake Romance (named for a Seattle neighborhood), which will publish "a broad range of frontlist titles in popular romance sub-genres, including romantic suspense and contemporary and historic romance novels, as well as fantasy and paranormal." The first announced author is two-time RITA winner Connie Brockway, whose THE OTHER GUY'S BRIDE will be published this fall. They say it will "be available to North American readers in Kindle, print and audio formats at www.amazon.com, as well as at national and independent booksellers," and Amazon tells us her print edition will be published as a trade paperback, though in the future they expect to publish romance authors in trade paper and mass market.

But it makes me wonder: will Bookish be able to compete against Amazon's formidable online book sales and who, besides Amazon, will carry Amazon published books?

Do they really think national and independent booksellers will carry their books? I mean truthfully, I can't see my local indie embracing Amazon books when they've been such a ruthless competitor in the past. And as a writer, would you want your agent pitching your books to Amazon imprints?

What do you think?

P.S. It isn't just books. According to this article, Amazon dominates one third of all e-commerce in the United States. Something to think about...

25 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

Wow, interesting questions. I wouldn't even know how to think about them, let alone answer.

Laura Pauling said...

I've heard about Bookish. It will be interesting to see what happens. And with Andrea Brown selfpublishing P.J. Hoover's books. Things are changing. I think all we can do is hold on for the ride and try to stay on top of things.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I imagine booksellers will try to hold out against Amazon. Is it wise? I'm not sure.

As I writer, I would want my books wherever the readers are.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I don't shop from Amazon. I support our local Canadian chain (for personal reasons) even though we have Amazon.ca. Because of this, I wouldn't want my book to be available just through Amazon.

Kristan said...

Pretty much ditto what Laura Pauling said. I'm trying to keep an eye on all these developments, and keep an open mind.

Amazon, like Walmart, has its pros and cons. As a consumer, I can't ignore the price value and convenience. But I do try to spread my love around by buying in brick-and-mortar stores too.

I will say that instead of trying to just compete with Amazon, I'd love to see the publishers figuring out how to work WITH Amazon to everyone's benefit...

Corey Schwartz said...

Their own imprints? Wow, I had no idea!

Faith E. Hough said...

Ahhh... I find myself liking Amazon less and less. It's such a pain, since of course you can buy more books when they're cheaper...but at what cost to the publishing world?

Marianne said...

I wonder if these type of things will create a class mentality among authors. If you are on paper, you are royalty and so on.

Angela Felsted said...

It makes sense to me that they're starting their own imprint. Just think of it as another place to submit. People already self publish through amazon, so from a business perspective, it makes sense.

Kelly said...

Very interesting things going on right now. Thanks for the news!!

bfav said...

I hope Bookish does well be B&N has been online a while and cannot stop the powerhouse that is Amazon. Money talks, so if Amazon pays the publishers will list with them and if Amazon imprints sell, other sellers will carry their titles. Unfortunately, it's all about the money.

Austin James said...

I do find it funny how so many indie authors have embraced Amazon lately, which was once (and still is I guess) the scourge of the independent bookstore.

Crazy time to be in publishing.

Tara Maya said...

It makes me a little nervous, to be honest. I like Amazon as a book distributor. If they are publishing their own stuff, can they retain the level playing field as a distributor? As for whether bookstores will carry their books...wow, I hadn't even asked myself that. The simple answer is that they will carry the books if they think it will profit them. But what do they think will profit them? I don't know.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate

Lydia K said...

I wonder what the brick and mortar stores will do. Great post, and thanks for keeping me up to date on all this confusing publishing stuff!

Christina Lee said...

Hmmm.... wow food for thought!!!!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

So many changes. The book industry is a difficult beast to keep up with right now. The whole thing makes my head spin.

kathrynjankowski said...

I think it's too early to say what impact this will have, but I hope Bookish will prove a worth competitor to Amazon. As for agent pitches, it would depend on whether the books would be solely available through Amazon.

Krispy said...

Wow, big changes coming! Thanks for the heads up and for posing great questions. I do wonder if Amazon printed books will be carried by physical book stores, but on the other hand, I have seen an Amazonencore book at Borders before.

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I hope Bookish can hold their own.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

That is BIG news! Makes an author wonder where the dust will settle, if it ever does. Thanks for the heads up. Great post!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Will other chains and stores carry Amazon imprints? Probably not. Barnes and Noble (and others) already have a policy about not stocking CreateSpace books because Amazon is their competition.
Be curious to see how this all plays out...

Kristin said...

Oh boy. I think I need to reread this, Sherrie. Thoughtful questions though.

I love our indie. I hope it stays afloat.

Donna Hole said...

Do they really think national and independent booksellers will carry their books?

Like they'd care? Or need the circulation. I hope they have staff editors for their new romance line though.

.......dhole

Suzanne Casamento said...

Donna makes a great point - does Amazon even care if other booksellers carry their books? They have such huge marketshare right now that they may not even need the sales from outside sources.

The whole situation is crazy. It may be a phase or it may actually stick. I think we just have to wait and see about all of it.

Anne R. Allen said...

When I read this, I my head started spinning like Linda Blair's in the Exorcist. SO much happening. SO fast. As writers, this gives us lots of options, and that should be great, but it's scary. Amazon has started a revolution with Kindle. But if it totally dominates the market, will it turn into an evil tyrant?

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