Amazon's Iron Fist Over Publishing
Books and technology. Two things that have had a bittersweet relationship over the years. Technology has helped get books and their ideas out to the masses, either through the printing press or now through the Kindle or door to door shipping, but now it seems books as we know it, are going to disappear. E-books are the wave of the future and as frequent readers of this blog for the past few months know, I'm not a big fan.
But this idea has some potential. I grew up listening to stories from my favorite writers about how they sent in their manuscripts countless times, only to receive enough rejection slips to wallpaper their house, inside and out. Book publishing was and to an extent, still is an old boys' club. Women and people of color are not published to the rate that white men are, or they are delineated into "special categories" or dismissed altogether. But now that Amazon is offering publishing, maybe that story can change.
Author Joe Konrath states that "Amazon treats its authors like partners, not like necessary evils; With my previous publishers, I had zero say in important decisions. Amazon respects my [creative] decisions, [and] its marketing power is unmatched." With little creative control and often poor returns for residuals, Amazon seems to offer a beacon of light for authors who are tired of the old system. But that does not come without downsides. Amazon, although not quite the monolith of book selling, is well on it's way to completely dominating the book selling market. With Borders out of the way and Barnes & Noble reporting losses, it seems Amazon is indeed the wave of the future. Smaller publishing houses, like Seal Press, are suffering.
It's comforting to hear that Amazon is treating its authors well, but when it comes at the cost of small and possibly local owned business going under, I hesitate to declare it a success.--Jillian L. Schweitzer Tags: books, technology
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