Monday, August 08, 2011

Publishers terrified to compete with Amazon Publishing

Publishers Weekly has begrudgingly acknowledged the obvious in an article titled "All Eyes on Amazon Publishing." After quoting a lot of grousing bookstore owners and nervous agents, the meat of the article -- which reveals the real concern of PW and its Big 6 clientele -- is to be found in the final two paragraphs:
For many agents, along with some booksellers, the real concern about Amazon Publishing has to do with what it could signal for traditional publishers. If Amazon lands enough bestselling authors, it could dominate traditional publishing the way it has come to monopolize online bookselling. Jeff McCord, owner of the Atlanta shop Bound to Be Read Books, thinks Amazon has long “wished to take over the book industry from top to bottom” and its recent foray into publishing is proof. “Amazon Publishing is a bigger worry for publishers than for bookstores,” he said.

While agents don’t want to see Amazon gain more control over any part of the business, they will go where they find the best deals. If Amazon is offering better royalty rates on both print and digital than many traditional houses—as some reports suggest—agents will be forced to do business with a company that, as one insider put it, “there is a lot of bad blood with.”
Translation: Publishers are scared out of their wits that Amazon is going to out-compete them for authors on the publishing end, just as booksellers are furious that Amazon's online and Kindle business has out-competed them on the retail end. Just you wait: It won't be long before all the dying dinosaurs try to get the government to crack down on this superb competitor with the bludgeon of antitrust" laws, instead of their own improvements in quality, author terms, and customer service.