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Amazon vs Book Publishers (Do Writers Win or Lose?) Updated 1-24-16

Published initially 11/14/2014; updated 9-4-19.
A lot has changed in book publishing in the last ten years (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 7-23-19) "At the beginning of this decade, Amazon Publishing had ideas about signing up big authors. But they were stymied then by the pretty stubborn refusal of the rest of the supply chain to stock books published by their biggest retail competitor.
"But that was when Amazon sales were about 20-25 percent of the market. Now they’re probably over half, and well above that for many books. Whether they will successfully sell Koontz beyond Amazon remains to be seen, but their no-middleperson structure enables them to pay far more of each retail dollar in royalties, so half the sales or more can generate more income to the author than a publisher without its own retailing capability can deliver selling a larger number of units. If this is a sign of things to come, and it is hard to see why it wouldn’t be, some profound changes might be just around the corner."
The Week’s Big Story: Amazon Publishing on Wooing Dean Koontz (Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, 7-26-19)
Amazon To Open Hundreds Of Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores (Pavithra Mohan, Fast Company, 2-2-16) Amazon, the online retailer that killed off so many independent bookshops, is getting ready to launch its own brick-and-mortar book chain. According to the Wall Street Journal, the CEO of a major mall operator, General Growth Properties, revealed on Tuesday that Amazon intends to launch hundreds of bookstores.
Why Amazon's Rumored "Bookstores" Probably Won't Be What You Think (Rich Bellis, Fast Company, 2-3-16) If Amazon does expand its physical retail footprint, don’t expect it to focus exclusively or even primarily on books. It may see physical locations as (among other things) more akin to Apple Stores, where it can showcase the hardware it sells online.
Meet the Guy Behind Amazon’s Secret Retail Store Plans (Jason Del Rey, re/code, 2-3-16) The man behind the Kindle is leading Amazon’s project to create the retail stores of the future. And bookstores are just the beginning. These are two of the new details Re/code has uncovered about Amazon’s plans for expansion into physical retail.
Amazon Plans Hundreds of Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores, Mall CEO Says (Greg Bensinger, WSJ, 2-2-16) mazon Plans Hundreds of Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores, Mall CEO Says

In the following pieces about a dispute among them, Amazon and book publishers take turns being the bad guy. Authors, read these often excellent arguments for and against book publishers, Amazon, and others engaged in this battle for market power and tell us what you think!  Read More 

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Amazon, E-books, and the Future of Publishing (updated)

Recent reports on Amazon's apparent march toward world domination, and book publishing's efforts to survive (more recent articles first):

Amazon as a threat to steal big titles from big publishers is still a ways off (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 10-23-12). Do read the whole article, which is interesting, but here's a sample: "But, for now, it would seem that B&N definitely did the right thing for their own good by boycotting  Read More 
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Who wins and loses from DoJ's suit against Big Publishers and Apple?

Here's a roundup (with links) of stories and analysis about the Department of Justice's plan to sue five major publishers and Apple for colluding to raise the prices of electronic books (eBooks). Three publishers have agreed to settle. On his blog, After the DoJ action, where do we stand?, Mike Shatzkin, whom I read for the big picture (publishers' view), tentatively summarizes the situation thus:  Read More 
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What's up with publishers not selling ebooks to libraries?

"As most people know who are following the tribulations of libraries trying to stock ebooks, four of the Big Six publishers are not making any ebooks available to libraries at all (except titles already sold in the past)," writes Mike Shatzkin this week. "Random House continues to supply all their titles to libraries as ebooks with only the 'one loan at a time per copy purchased' limitation, but they have just raised the prices  Read More 
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Tom Benjey's run with print-on-demand self-publishing

Guest post by Tom Benjey

Major publishing houses have been using POD technology for some time to keep their backlist titles in print. POD technology allows books to be printed digitally one a time, thus relieving the publisher of the cost of printing a batch of books and having capital tied up in them until they sell. The small capital investment required to publish books via POD technology also makes it possible for an author to become a publisher  Read More 
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Amazon.com and the Future of Book Publishing (part 2)

Three more alerts for authors: Confessions of a Publisher: “We’re in Amazon’s Sights and They’re Going to Kill Us” (PandoDaily)
Barnes & Noble: Taking on Amazon in a Fight for Its Life Read More 
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Amazon.com (Gorilla) and the Future of Book Publishing (part 1)

Here are links to several pieces of essential reading on Amazon and the future of book publishing: Amazon's Hit Man (Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, 1-25-12)
Publishing’s Ecosystem on the Brink: The Backstory (Authors Guild, 1-31-12)
Amazon and Lightning Source: The End of an Era? (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer 9-9-11)
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E-book fire sales: the death knell for publishers?

When Amazon.com and ebook discounts get rock-bottom low, so do returns to publishers, and even more so to authors, writes Michael Jecks in his persuasive blog post, This really is the death knell for publishers (writerlytwitterings, 9-28-11).

In a market rigged against independent bookstores Read More 
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Amazon policy triggers Amazonfail twitter outrage

Amazonfail. Craig Seymour in his blogpost Is Amazon.com homophobic? Amazon.fail and you're done launched a spring 2009 controversy about which there has been MUCH Twittering. Amazon later explained  Read More 
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