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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Is Amazon a Danger Lurking in the Publishing Industry?

Is Amazon getting too big for its britches? Creating and positioning itself on a monopolistic throne where it can wield too much dictatorial power?

Victoria Barnsley, UK CEO of HarperCollins, thinks Amazon's presence and goals in publishing today are a big concern and says so in an article by Graeme Neill on TheBookseller.com:

Amazon publishing a "concern"—Barnsley

Amazon's move into publishing is a "concern" and the business is close to being in a monopolistic position, according to the c.e.o. of HarperCollins.

Victoria Barnsley was the latest book trade figure to appear on BBC Radio 4's "The Future of the Book" segment on "The World at One", broadcast today (16th August).

In a wide-ranging interview, she said she felt hardback prices would increase as they

increased in quality; digital fiction sales would be 50% of the category's total within two years; touched upon the News International phone-hacking row; and said the agent Andrew Wylie has apologised to her following a recent row where he accused the publisher of acting in a "shrill and punitive way" towards authors.

Barnsley described Amazon as a "very very powerful global competitor" of HarperCollins. She said: "I think Amazon's foray into book publishing . . . is obviously a concern . . . They are this weird thing. We can them 'frenemies'. They are also a very important customer of ours and they have done fantastic things for the book industry. I have mixed views about them but there's no doubt they are very very powerful now and in fact they are getting close to being in a monopolistic situation."

She described agents' attempts to secure greater digital royalties for their authors as a "bone of contention" between both parties. She said: "We would argue that we actually invest a huge amount in authors, invest a huge amount in marketing and reach. It is a bone of contention. I don't think we should be [in dispute] because what we add is of enormous value, which, say, the digital technology companies don't give."

Read and learn more

Related article: Amazon as publisher: What does it mean?

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