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Friday, April 20, 2012

Amazon: The Behemoth That Swallows All?



Amazon: The Behemoth That Swallows All?
By Jacqueline Seewald

According to an article in the April 12, 2012 edition of The New York Times,
Amazon, which has become a dominant force in the publishing industry, may very well become a monopoly in the not too distant future. Amazon already controls about 60 per cent of the e-book publishing market. By dictating prices for e-books, publishers argue that Amazon may lower prices to readers in the short term, but by destroying competition they may be putting many more book publishers and book sellers under water. The fear is that many major publishers won’t be able to stay in business. Just selling e-books won’t bring in enough money to support the infrastructure of the book publishing industry.

Another article in the Sunday, April 8, 2012 issue of The Record, a NJ newspaper, taken from The Seattle Times, states that many independent publishers feel threatened by an already thin profit margin. Apparently, Amazon can afford to practically give books away because it makes money from many other sources. The publishing industry appears to be in crisis.

What is your opinion on this subject? How do you think an Amazon monopoly would affect your future as a writer and/or reader?

12 comments:

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Amazon is definitely changing the face of publishing and the industry as a whole.

As the editor/owner of The Wordsmith Journal Magazine an online publication, I've had indy book store owners send me scathing messages for announcing the magazine's Kindle winner - basically calling Amazon a monster who is putting them out of business and intimidating folks in the process.

Yet, these same folks won't answer my email when I ask what they would like to see in and receive from me and my magazine.

For me it's all about the message and my goal as an author and with the magazine is to reach readers and hopefully touch their lives with the message of hope and healing through God and I'll utilize every means possible to do so.

Great post!

Good luck and God's Blessings.
PamT

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Pam--Fellow Early Riser!

There's no question in my mind at least that Amazon has become the major player in the book publishing industry. Will it be good or bad for readers and/or writers in the long run? That remains to be seen!

Anita Page said...

Jacquie, thanks for raising this question. I know the issue is complicated (I also blogged on this at Women of Mystery last week), but it seems clear to me that the only one whose going to benefit from Amazon's business model is Amazon.

Pauline B Jones said...

Amazon is a business and they will do what is best for their business model. It's that simple. That said, as a customer, I like Amazon. They provide what I want as a consumer. Their business model is to make me happy. So in the end, the power IS with the consumer. If they don't make us happy, then their money drains away. I have a kindle because there are more books on amazon and it is just easier to get them, find out what's available, everything is just easier on amazon.

big publishers AREN'T making readers happy. They could change the dynamic of things by recognizing that READERS are their customers and responding the reader concerns, instead of trying to protect a dying business model. If they go down, it will be their choice and not, IMHO, because Amazon is evil.

I could say more, but don't have time! I just know that they have, for the most part, LOST me as a customer. They don't give a flip about me as a reader, so why should I give them my loyalty?

Conda V. Douglas said...

My opinion, which is just my opinion, is that no one knows what will happen in the publishing world. We really have no clue. It's going to be completely different, in fact it already is. Terrifying and exhilarating!

jenny milchman said...

I think Conda said it well in response to your thought-provoking post, Jacqueline. We just don't know. Some readers seem to be driving a resurgence of indie bookstores and face to face events. Amazon is certainly democratizing the marketplace--for now. I hope both traditional publishing and independent thrive. I think there's need for both.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Anita, Pauline, Conda, and Jenny--

You each offer intelligent discussions regarding Amazon and the future of publishing. I thank each of you for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

Mary F. Schoenecker said...

I wish I had a magic lamp to give us the answers to this very complicated issue. I have had success with traditional publishing, but understand many of the gripes of others. I am building confidence in Amazon, however, like Jenny's comment, I wish they could both survive.
Mary

D'Ann said...

I honestly don't know.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

In an ideal world, authors would be able to choose to have their books published and read in all formats. And readers should be able to purchase books at a reasonable price, again in all formats.

Maryann Miller said...

Good discussion and I agree with what Pauline said about the big publishers not caring about the readers. They have also not cared much about the writers either, especially in the last 30 years, when it started to be all about the money. When the marketing departments started running the business, instead of the editorial department, that was the beginning of the decline of traditional publishing.

Right now, Amazon is doing all it can to make readers and writers happy, and that is a good thing. But Barnes and Noble is trying to do the same, although it has taken them too long to adopt some of the same business plan that has profited Amazon for the past ten years.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks for commenting Maryann.
Your thoughts represent the majority of author/reader opinion.
Obviously, Amazon is providing services that "big" publishing has chosen to ignore.