Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Amazon and independent publishers

Following the recent controversy about Amazon insisting that print-on-demand books must use its Book Surge system if they are to be listed, Lloyd Jassin for the New York Center for Independent Publishing argues that the situation should be a wake-up call for the industry.
It strikes me that from Amazon's large and powerful river might flow not just POD books, but e-books, books disaggregated and re-purposed for mobile hand held devices, audiobooks and other digital derivatives -- whether now known or hereinafter invented. Our hope is that in the swirl of that digital river, we will see new digital revenue streams emerge for smaller and independent presses.

If Amazon remains committed to the indie press segment, and acts as a bridge not just between publishers and traditional readers, but between publishers and digital readers, it becomes an enabler, and, perhaps, the best friend an indie publisher could have.

However, Amazon's favoritism to Book Surge is a slippery slope that could easily decrease diversity. Amazon is steering consumers to books that are produced by its owned-and-operated press.

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