We've had many discussions in the forum regarding Amazon and the future of print books. There's an excellent, in-depth article in The Nation entitled "The Amazon Effect" that addresses the past, present, and future of book publishing, and the profound impact that Amazon and e-books have had on the industry. I'd be interested in hearing what you think after reading the article.
But, at risk of more ire, the amazon situation is more like if amazon owned the biggest movie studio and the biggest chain of theaters And KMart and WalMart. And were launching TV networks.
It's pretty huge. I can't really think offhand of anything that's ever been that vertical and that horizontal.
What I'd like to see, really (for more ire, I expect) would be if there was another group or two similar to amazon with the same reach, like the big three car companies.
Just out of curiosity, what do you think would happen if amazon acquired St Martins or something like that? Would that suddenly be antitrust stuff?
What's going on with the Houghton Miflin Harcourt-Amazon deal?
The movie studios used to own all the theatres, that's the break-up I was talking about (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Paramount_Pictures,_Inc.)
You can never tell how these break-ups will go or what new technology come along, but most companies want to get as big a market share as possible.
Amazon has already started Amazon Studios for TV and movie production.
But as long as Amazon offer the same distribution rates to all publishers and not just their own imprints, it'll be fine. Of course, that will be very tough to regulate ;).
Most U.S. utilities -- water, electric and gas -- are regulated by state utility boards. Prices increases must be approved. Computers not so much.
Hey Cammy, we agree on a lotta things, but not on the "let's worry about big bad Amazon and what they're going to do to us." Amazon is not Standard Oil. Amazon is not making the indie bookstores go out of business, book buyers are. They get better service and better prices on the Internet. Hell, if they're really poor, like me, they can buy used books online really cheap.
They can buy books online they can't get in any bookstore. Not self-publlished books, trad published books that have gone out of print or are no longer available. Libraries cull their collections every year. They sell many of their discards to used booksellers. Example: I bought a used hardcover copy of "Just for a Thrill" a bio of jazz pianist Lil Hardin on Amazon because I couldn't get it anywhere else. It had previously been in a library somewhere.
And your allusion to the Third Reich is WAY over the top. Amazon is not holding a gun to your head to make you buy a book with them. Nor are they forcing you to publish with them. However, if you DO choose to publish with them, they have actual living breathing people that will talk to you on the telephone if you have a problem. I did, and the problem was fixed in less than three days.
You want to talk Gestapo tactics? Try Lulu. I published my 2 novels with them first. After I switched to Create Space to issue 2nd editions with my own ISBNs, I withdrew my Lulu editions from global distribution. This was on Feb 22, 2012. Guess what. I just wrote a letter to Lulu's legal dept because Lulu STILL has not deleted my files as I've asked them to do THREE times. Each time the same idiot service rep emails me to say: oh, the files only LOOK like they're there. Well, not only do they LOOK like they're there. They ARE there, because I downloaded and opened them. And if I can open them, so can Lulu.
Cammy, Amazon is not the problem. If you don't want to publish or sell on Amazon, that's your choice, but don't make doomsday predictions that you can't back up.
Well, I guess nobody can back up predictions. And I didn;t really make any. Just said I was worried about it.
No, nobody forces you to publish with them. But it's like Microsoft. If you don't. what are you going to do?
Actually, I don't think they're driving little bookstores out. They may be driving big bookstores out. But I think what they really want to do is drive Nook and Smashwords out.
And see them as having potential to become the only company that publishes anything. They're already the only really practical place for people like you and I to publish.
I'm having a hard time understanding why voicing concern about where it might be headed gets taken as saying they aren't a good place to publish and a good thing for authors.
And it seems nobody likes any analogies that I use.
The funny thing is, I just came off a discussion on LInked In where somebody was all over me because they see independent publishing as a threat and I'm all wet for saying publishing on Kindle and CreateSpace shouldn't be "filtered".
So, I'm not going to say anything about this any more. I'm not very experienced at it anyway, just looking and thinking out loud.
But don't come crying to me when Bezos' stormtroopers come drag you out of your attic and stamp your forehead.
(I can't leave you all with NOTHING to get on me about, can I?)
Cammy, get real! You said: I'm having a hard time understanding why voicing concern about where it might be headed gets taken as saying they aren't a good place to publish and a good thing for authors.>>
Could it be because you compare Amazon to the Third Reich (let's see how many millions of actual PEOPLE did they kill?)
Amazon is in business to make money. So is Smashwords. So is Nook/B&N.
Amazon is a retail sales outlet. They deliver the goods to people who buy from them. If they weren't making a profit they wouldn't stay in business.
Yes, Amazon has also entered the publishing sphere. Create Space is their POD entity. They also have established a more traditionally based publishing arm. This is new and it's not clear to me (or anyone else) how it will fare in terms of making money for Amazon.
But I don't think anyone will even come close to predicting that quoting you here
see them as having potential to become the only company that publishes anything.>> That just isn't going to happen.
I know a lot of people who think it's a real possibility. By extrapolation.
But I'm sure sick of discussing it.
Please dump the Nazi's in with the devil and ignore them.
I'm sure they'll be happier, as well as everybody else.
I'm with you on this, Eyre. Having been traditionally published and learned firsthand about their methods and how little they care about authors, I also rely on Amazon to open up new options. Even if they do so for reasons of their own expansion, they are still a much better bet than traditional publishing (unless you can land a contract in 6 figures). This may or may not change in the future. It is the best way to go now.