Tip of the Spear

by John J. Miller on October 17, 2011

in Blog Posts

  • Sumo

The AmazonEncore edition of The First Assassin came out a little more than a year ago. This week, the New York Times takes notice of Amazon.com’s publishing plot:

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 suppliers. …

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.

This is good news for book buyers. The industry exists for them and this fight is over how best to satisfy their needs. It helps authors, too. When I finished The First Assassin, I sent the manuscript everywhere. So did my agent. But the conventional book industry wasn’t interested. Ultimately, I chose to self publish. A few months later, Amazon contacted me, acquired the rights to the novel, and put out its own edition.

Traditional publishers may feel fear. I feel gratitude.

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