Monday, October 17, 2011

Amazon cutting out publishers

I saw this New York Times article over at CNBC about Amazon publishing books directly with top authors:
Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers.....

It has set up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran, Laurence Kirshbaum, to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction. It signed its first deal with the self-help author Tim Ferriss. Last week it announced a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it paid $800,000, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said.

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.

I love that guys like Tim Ferris, author of some pretty entertaining books like The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman can now bypass mainstream publishers altogether. Soon other lesser known writers will join him, without the need for a publisher. It's about time.

6 Comments:

Blogger Jason said...

I just hope this doesn't mean they're going to be bypassing editors too. Especially for popular authors who tend to become arrogant. A good editor can make or break a book.

2:30 PM, October 17, 2011  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jason,

True, editors are good but sometimes the big publishing companies don't even provide a lot of editing. However, in fairness to publishers, it's probably a good idea to have a number of publishers so an author can shop around. If publishing were in one central place like Amazon, where would you go if you got turned down? As long as one can self-publish, it seems okay.

Helen

3:51 PM, October 17, 2011  
Blogger Athol Kay said...

There's no reason for a new author to look for a publisher these days. You have to sell the book yourself anyway, and everything else can be done for a low fixed fee rather than a huge slice of the pie.

6:09 PM, October 17, 2011  
Blogger ballyfager said...

I need bookstores. I need them a helluva lot more than I need Amazon.

11:54 AM, October 18, 2011  
Blogger K-Man said...

Amazon will probably cherry-pick the hottest authors. Everyone else who does not already have bestsellers to their name, especially new authors attempting to find a publisher, need not apply to Amazon or any other.

In the mid–1990s news in the publishing world that was little noticed outside was that most publishers dumped their "mid-list" authors. These were writers who did not have anything like a bestseller, but did regularly write books that sold well and made a profit for the publisher. Message: too bad anyway, not enough $$$ for us, so beat it.

It's hard to picture Amazon giving a rat's behind about the guy or lady who has written a book—say, a technical reference guide—that might not be the biggest thing since sliced bread but could be a steady and profitable seller. Not gonna happen.

Authors, unless you're Steven King, don't get your hopes up about Amazon. May as well figure on going with Booklocker.com or another similar concern and paying to self-publish.

6:17 PM, October 18, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

Amazon, sure if looking fior a specific title. But like ballyfager I need book stores. How else to discover a gem?

9:36 PM, October 19, 2011  

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