[LINK] Amazon to publish also
rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue Oct 18 20:08:29 AEDT 2011
Excuse me, but what a crock ... not the story, the interpretation.
"Amazon becomes a publisher" is accurate. "Do not need a publisher" is
On 18/10/11 7:35 PM, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
> Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal
> By DAVID STREITFELD Published: October 16, 2011
> SEATTLE --- Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores.
> Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers.
> Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both
> physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer's
> fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in
> competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent
> It has set up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran, Laurence
> Kirshbaum, to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction. It signed its
> first deal with the self-help author Tim Ferriss. Last week it announced
> a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it paid
> $800,000, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said.
> Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors.
> And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics
> and agents used to provide.
> Several large publishers declined to speak on the record about Amazon's
> efforts. "Publishers are terrified and don't know what to do," said
> Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House, who is known for speaking his mind.
> "Everyone's afraid of Amazon," said Richard Curtis, a longtime agent who
> is also an e-book publisher. "If you're a bookstore, Amazon has been in
> competition with you for some time. If you're a publisher, one day you
> wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you're an agent,
> Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the
> opportunity to publish directly and cut you out.
> "It's an old strategy: divide and conquer," Mr. Curtis said.
> Amazon executives, interviewed at the company's headquarters here,
> declined to say how many editors the company employed, or how many books
> it had under contract. But they played down Amazon's power and said
> publishers were in love with their own demise.
> "It's always the end of the world," said Russell Grandinetti, one of
> Amazon's top executives. "You could set your watch on it arriving."
> He pointed out, though, that the landscape was in some ways changing for
> the first time since Gutenberg invented the modern book nearly 600 years
> ago. "The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are
> the writer and reader," he said. "Everyone who stands between those two
> has both risk and opportunity."
> Amazon has started giving all authors, whether it publishes them or not,
> direct access to highly coveted Nielsen BookScan sales data, which
> records how many physical books they are selling in individual markets
> like Milwaukee or New Orleans. It is introducing the sort of one-on-one
> communication between authors and their fans that used to happen only on
> book tours. It made an obscure German historical novel a runaway best
> seller without a single professional reviewer weighing in.
> Publishers caught a glimpse of a future they fear has no role for them
> late last month when Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire, a tablet for
> books and other media sold by Amazon. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the company's
> chief executive, referred several times to Kindle as "an end-to-end
> service," conjuring up a world in which Amazon develops, promotes and
> delivers the product.
> For a sense of how rattled publishers are by Amazon's foray into their
> business, consider the case of Kiana Davenport, a Hawaiian writer whose
> career abruptly derailed last month.
> In 2010 Ms. Davenport signed with Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin,
> for "The Chinese Soldier's Daughter," a Civil War love story. She
> received a $20,000 advance for the book, which was supposed to come out
> next summer.
> If writers have one message drilled into them these days, it is this:
> hustle yourself. So Ms. Davenport took off the shelf several award-
> winning short stories she had written 20 years ago and packaged them in
> an e-book, "Cannibal Nights," available on Amazon.
> When Penguin found out, it went "ballistic," Ms. Davenport wrote on her
> blog, accusing her of breaking her contractual promise to avoid competing
> with it. It wanted "Cannibal Nights" removed from sale and all mentions
> of it deleted from the Internet.
> Ms. Davenport refused, so Penguin canceled her novel and has said it will
> pursue legal action if she does not return the advance.
> They're trying to set an example: If you self-publish and distribute with
> Amazon, you do so at your own risk," said Jan Constantine, a lawyer with
> the Authors Guild who has represented Ms. Davenport.
> The writer knows her crime: "Sleeping with the enemy." Penguin declined
> to comment.
> If some writers are suffering collateral damage, others are benefiting
> from this new setup. Laurel Saville was locked out by the old system,
> when New York publishers were the gatekeepers. "I got lots and lots of
> praise but no takers," said Ms. Saville, 48, a business writer who lives
> in Little Falls, N.Y.
> Two years ago she decided to pay for the publication of her memoir about
> her mother's descent from California beauty queen to street person to
> murder victim. She spent about $2,200, which yielded sales of 600 copies.
> Not horrible but far from earth-shaking.
> Last fall, Ms. Saville paid $100 to be included in a Publishers Weekly
> list of self-published writers. The magazine ended up reviewing her
> memoir, giving it a mixed notice that nevertheless caught the attention
> of Amazon editors. They sent Ms. Saville an e-mail offering to republish
> the book. It got an editorial once-over, a new cover and a new
> title: "Unraveling Anne." It will be published next month.
> Ms. Saville did not get any money upfront, as she would have if a
> traditional publisher had picked up her memoir. In essence, Amazon has
> become her partner.
> "I assume they want to make a lot of money off the book, which is
> encouraging to me," said Ms. Saville, who negotiated her deal without an
> Her contract has a clause that forbids her from discussing the details,
> which is not traditional in publishing. The publicity plans for the book
> are also secret.
> Can Amazon secretly create its own best sellers? "The Hangman's Daughter"
> was an e-book hit. Amazon bought the rights to the historical novel by a
> first-time writer, Oliver Pötzsch, and had it translated from German. It
> has now sold 250,000 digital copies.
> "The great and fascinating thing about Amazon's publishing program is
> that there can be these grass-roots phenomena," said Bruce Nichols of
> Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which republished the novel this summer.
> Ms. Saville no longer even contemplates a career with a traditional
> publisher. "They had their shot," she said. She is now writing a
> novel. "My hope is Amazon will think it's wonderful and we'll go happily
> off into the publishing sunset," she said.
> Link mailing list
> Link at mailman.anu.edu.au
More information about the Link