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Saturday, November 5, 2011

More on Amazon Publishing - The Devil is in the Still Morphing Details

Everything experiences growing pains. Amazon's foray into the publishing world is no exception.

No denying Amazon, coupled with the fast-evolving digital tech, is and will be a real game changer ... But, the pros and cons details are still shaking out.

For more background on Amazon Publishing please refer to these three previous posts.

This from David Streitfeld in the New York Times:

Uncovering Amazon Publishing

The legacy book publishers are pretty much open shops. If you want to know how many titles they are publishing this fall, just get a catalog and add them up. Amazon is taking a different tack, shrouding much of the plans for its publishing venture in the secrecy it extends to most of its business dealings. (Apple, no slouch at being close-mouthed, at least reveals how many iPads it sells. Amazon does not do the same with Kindles.)

Amazon issues a press release when announcing a new imprint — a half-dozen so far, plus a somewhat anomalous operation run by the entrepreneurial thinker Seth Godin — but little more. Since the books are sold almost exclusively on the Amazon site and are usually digital, they do not appear on any of the traditional best-seller lists. What is selling is unclear; how and why is even murkier.

Laura Hazard Owen at Paidcontent.org took a dive this week into the subject with her article “The Truth About Amazon Publishing.” After counting the books one by one, she found 263 current and forthcoming Amazon titles. Just about all are also published in physical form. Readers are enthusiastic about reviewing these efforts and tend to give them high grades (average: 4.09 out of 5).

About a fifth of the titles become digital best sellers, too. But this tended to happen when the titles were sold at promotional prices, which illustrates the power of becoming the Kindle Daily Deal but little else. “Elizabeth Street” by Laurie Fabiano, described as “a novel based on true events” of the Italian immigrant experience, was featured in a late August deal, after which it hit No. 1. It is now 1,542.

Ms. Owen concludes that “Amazon Publishing hasn’t killed print yet.” But is anyone saying it has? The real question is whether it will reshape publishing by dissolving old rules and creating new expectations, the way it has reconfigured bookselling. Will a physical edition become the reward for a successful electronic publication? Will authors enlarge their share of e-book revenues at the expense of traditional publishers? Will independent bookstores carry Amazon books? How will readers on Amazon itself discover these new titles? What sort of cottage industries will grow up to help writers promote their books online?

Read and learn more

Related article on Amazon Publishing Imprints

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