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Will Amazon Kill Off Publishers?NY Times "Room for Debate"


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#1 Rick Spilman

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 09:30 AM

An interesting discussion from the NY Times.

Will Amazon Kill Off Publishers?

#2 C. Taylor

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:01 AM

Thanks for posting, Rick!! Very interesting discussion. I thought most of them had valid view points, though to me, the editor at Melville still felt like he had his head in the sand and just didn't get it-- which I know many have said is the problem with traditional publishers.

I think one of the reasons people keep holding onto the hope of publishing traditionally is that they want to see their books in libraries and stores, but really, what's to keep Amazon from providing that service? It's a rapidly changing world, and I think too many traditional publishers are sticking their fingers in their ears and squeezing their eyes shut, hoping this will all just go away.

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#3 jwmstudio

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:36 AM

Interesting discussion. This made the ticker that runs across the screen on Morning Joe the other morning. I think the comment about publishing being like "art-making" speaks to the link you posted a few days ago about the new kindle format (8?) My first thought when I read that was that those were tools that would let you really control what your work looked like - not just fonts and covers. It's one of the reasons author's like Audrey Niffenegger have shied away from e-books and it really does enhance the reading experience for me.

Cali is right about libraries as well. I read lots of library books. I just read them on my kindle. That should be a much smaller step for Amazon now.
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#4 Rick Spilman

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 11:51 AM

Thanks for posting, Rick!! Very interesting discussion. I thought most of them had valid view points, though to me, the editor at Melville still felt like he had his head in the sand and just didn't get it-- which I know many have said is the problem with traditional publishers.


I was impressed and a bit surprised that that Dennis Johnson of Melville House demonstrated the same arrogance, pomposity and shortsightedness that one might expect from a large publisher. A shame.





#5 Kalinda Knight

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 01:16 PM

Thanks, Rick, for putting this link here. I've just spent a good portion of my day reading your link and your link's links. Oh, well, another day not writing. Still, I learned a lot and all in the name of research. Thanks, again.

#6 The Doctor

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 04:59 PM

So my question is, how does one GO ABOUT publishing with one of their imprints?

#7 jwmstudio

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 05:05 PM

So my question is, how does one GO ABOUT publishing with one of their imprints?

It's my understanding that they ask you.
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#8 Rick Spilman

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 06:45 PM

It's my understanding that they ask you.


I think that is it.

From what I gather, you publish with Kindle Direct Publishing and then if you show promise, (by selling many books) you get an e-mail inviting you to talk to them about publication. Or something like that.




#9 Whimsical_Werecat

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 09:29 PM

Thanks for posting the link, Rick. Definitely an informative and fascinating read.

#10 The Doctor

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:06 AM

See to me, how would that beat out the traditional style where you go to the publisher? In my mind, the amazon way is MORE selective.

#11 dgaughran

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 09:00 AM

See to me, how would that beat out the traditional style where you go to the publisher? In my mind, the amazon way is MORE selective.


Well, for one, you could be building your audience, engaging with readers, and making money while you are in their "slush pile".

Having been in the other kind of slush pile, I can say that this one is a lot more fun.
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#12 dgaughran

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 09:04 AM

So my question is, how does one GO ABOUT publishing with one of their imprints?


I've interviewed several writers who have signed with their imprints (J Carson Black, Michael Wallace, Scott Nicholson, Traci Hohenstein, and Lia Fairchild). In all cases, they self-published first, and were contacted by Amazon on the strength of their sales, or just because Amazon really liked their book and felt they could dramatically expand their audience with a marketing push.

I've also heard that while their imprints do take agented submissions, Amazon look a little askance at them, preferring to target authors themselves who are already selling on Amazon (either trade-published or self-published, but mostly, it seems, self-published).

If you really want a deal with Amazon, it seems that all you have to do is self-publish a great book and sell a gazillion copies. Easy, right?
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#13 Zero

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 08:42 PM

I don't know, I believe Amazon may do a lot of things easy for consumers, but as writers, I just don't find it appealing at all, at least not yet..., am I the only one?
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#14 Rick Spilman

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 09:30 PM

I don't know, I believe Amazon may do a lot of things easy for consumers, but as writers, I just don't find it appealing at all, at least not yet..., am I the only one?


Amazon appears to treat writers fairly well, certainly as compared to the big publishing houses.




#15 Pete Morin

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 09:58 PM

In my mind, the amazon way is MORE selective.


Let's examine this statement.

Amazon is signing two types of writers:

1. Writers who've been traditionally published and were offered a better deal by Amazon (like, WAY better).

2. Writers who banged their heads against the Pearly Gates of TP, were told they weren't good enough, self-published and proved the TP Eggheads wrong, and are offered a hand by Amazon.

Where does "more selective" come from here?


How would the Amazon deal beat out the TP deal? Don't you have to know the terms of the Amazon deals and weigh them against the TP terms? Isn't that the only way you can tell? I haven't seen the Amazon contract (yet -heh), but my agent tells me it's a far better contract for the author than any of the big 6 contracts being offered today. Three of her clients have signed Amazon deals in the last quarter. All deals where Amazon blew away the TP competition.




Zero, I'm wondering what you're referring to. What don't you find appealing? The idea of new imprints offering authors better contracts? Or this notion of Amazon becoming the all-powerful monopolist?
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#16 richard p

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 07:24 AM

I like Amazon because it's done something TP wouldn't do--let me publish my book at an affordable price. Isn't that the main thing most writers want, just to see their writing out there for the world to see.

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#17 patskywriter

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:21 AM

Is it still true that it's very difficult getting self-published books onto library shelves and into bookstores? I would never consider self-publishing if the availability of the book I'm working on was limited to the Internet.
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#18 Rick Spilman

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 11:15 AM

Is it still true that it's very difficult getting self-published books onto library shelves and into bookstores? I would never consider self-publishing if the availability of the book I'm working on was limited to the Internet.


It is very difficult to get books onto store shelves and into libraries under any circumstances. There are simply fewer and fewer store shelves with many thousands of books competing for space. Getting your book published by a traditional publisher is no guarantee that it will be widely available (or available at all) in bookstores.

I know, as a reader, the five closest book stores to me have shut down. I buy lots of books every year, but only rarely from brick and mortar bookstores.




#19 patskywriter

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 12:13 PM

It is very difficult to get books onto store shelves and into libraries under any circumstances. There are simply fewer and fewer store shelves with many thousands of books competing for space. Getting your book published by a traditional publisher is no guarantee that it will be widely available (or available at all) in bookstores. …


That's a really good point. I still want to go the traditional route for my first book for "positioning" reasons. The books that will follow can be self-published. Those will be nonfiction books with local content/appeal, so I don't see the need for seeking out a traditional publisher for those.



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#20 Pete Morin

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 12:42 PM

That's a really good point. I still want to go the traditional route for my first book for "positioning" reasons. The books that will follow can be self-published. Those will be nonfiction books with local content/appeal, so I don't see the need for seeking out a traditional publisher for those.




Patsy, what do you anticipate the "positioning" will do for you?

One of the common faults of the debut novel experience is that the book fails to earn out or make money, and the pub drops the author.
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