View Full Version : Amazon asking publishers for heavy discounts...
29th Sep 2011, 12:36 pm
As they promote the Kindle product lines with extreme ferocity Amazon are asking publishers to support them with heavy discounting. Story at the Bookseller [/URL][URL="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/amazon-asks-90-discount-new-kindle-campaign.html"]here (http://www.teleread.com/paul-biba/amazon-uk-asks-for-90-discounts-for-october-kindle-promotion/).
Quotable quote: One publisher, who did not wish to be named, told The Bookseller the discount meant they could not participate in the promotion. The publisher said: "I just don't see how publishers can represent authors and make any return on their investments working on these margins."
30th Sep 2011, 08:04 am
Amazon are on the highroad to a monopolistic position and can't get off the road. I like this summary of Why Amazon will lead the big four: (http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/our-kindle-fire-impressions-and-why-amazon-is-destined-to-dominate/)
Apple sells content and writes software to sell hardware. It is a hardware company.
Microsoft sells content and makes hardware to sell software. It is a software company.
Google sells or gives away content and software to sell advertisements. It is an ad sales company.
Amazon sells or gives away hardware and software to sell content. It is an online retailer — a content company.
It may seem heartless, but I am not bothered about Amazon's hard line with head-in-the-sand publishing companies - and agree with David that the future lies with smaller specialist publishing firms which know their own market and their authors. This is where publishing began. Since Amazon is a mega-international-conglomerate, there is no need for publishing forms to have this role. I look forward to more firms in the style of the Hogarth Press!
Amazon is a content retalier, not a content creator.
Publishers should ponder an author's comment that "I just don't see how authors represented by publishers can make any return on their investments working on the margins on offer from mega international conclomerate publishers."
30th Sep 2011, 08:30 am
I liked that assessment, it's spot on. I was discussing similar with a friend the other day. I'd argue Apple is trying to control the channels for software distribution and content too. What with the iTunes store, and way software for Macs can be bought via 'app' style nowadays also.
Yes, the smaller niche publishers will dominate, but I wonder could they exist as imprints owned by the larger established firms? Again, brand could be the thing that clinches the deal here. It could be things don't change as much as we'd like to thing if this is the case.
30th Sep 2011, 09:01 am
Branding influences a good many purchasing decisions but I don't think it influences me in buying books. Maybe I used to regard Penguin as a good indicator of quality but when I read that "The Random House Group is one of the largest general book publishing companies in the UK." it does not influence me. Book reviews, as on Amazon, are a much bigger factor and I also like to 'look inside' the book.
As for the big companies, think about Netscape, Yahoo and now MS. They get set in their ways and lack the nimbleness, vision and low cost cost base of the youngsters. In fact even Google's share price and revenues are now flat-lining in comparison with A&A. Content is King.
30th Sep 2011, 10:35 am
That would be fine, but the reviews on Amazon can veer toward being worthless so very often. I can point to so many self-published books with solid five-star reviews... it's so common for the self-pubs to get their friends to just post them up as such. Large clusters of them will blitz each others books with many positive reviews. Once such behaviour becomes more recognised by Joe Public so it will come down to trustworthiness of the publisher, and content as you note, which I think could be distilled down to brand ultimately, if just for ease of identification.
Agreed, Yahoo, and Netscape are victims of being slow on the uptake. MS are trying though certainly - their Windows phone software is world class according to several folks I know who use it, alas the multitudes don't seem to realise, and/or care. I think Yahoo was in such a good position with its messenger to capture the FB market years ago, but just failed to do so. They were too busy trying to be an information portal - a hybrid content provider and aggregation service. And now as a result, they do nothing well really. Well, free email and Yahoo messenger, but I used both less and less...
Talking of MS, they have a tablet OS coming out, basically full Win 7. That could be interesting as there's nothing to stop it playing Apple iTunes content... a tablet playing iTunes content that's not owned by Apple. Interesting indeed!
30th Sep 2011, 10:51 am
I don't read much fiction these days but with non-fiction I can usually reach a pretty accurate assessment from a sample chapter + some reviews. This takes me to another point: once I have found a reviewer I am in sympathy with I place far more weight on their opinion than on the brand of the publisher.
Re the Win8 tablet coming from MS, it sounds like the most sensible thing they have done for years and since they pioneered tablet computers they deserve a success in this arena. Neither Bill nor Steve has asked me for any hints or tips but were they to do so I would advise them to give away cloud storage with every legal copy of Word (together with free use of an equivalent of Googledocs - ie Office Live Workspace).
1st Oct 2011, 12:54 pm
Amanda Hocking (http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Amanda+Hocking&x=0&y=0) wrote 17 novels and couldn’t persuade a publisher to take them on. She then self-published them as eBooks and, in less than a year, had sold over a million copies and earned $2,000,000 in sales. Now the dead tree publishers are courting her!
1st Oct 2011, 02:31 pm
These are the exceptions though, lets be honest.
For every Hocking there are thousands of other folks who have no business writing, let alone uploading and attempting to sell their dire prose on Amazon, or smashwords, or wherever.
1st Oct 2011, 02:36 pm
True. But the same applies to all book publishing. I forget the exact %age but guess that >95% 'fail' in commercial terms. My wife once made the useful calculation that I had earned about 5 pence/hour by writing a book! My (limp) response was that making money was not my motivation in writing the book, though I would have been pleased if it had happened. My experience over the last ten years has been that e-writing is more profitable than p-writing.
2nd Oct 2011, 12:46 am
Amazon is a flexible, free player that's always trying to exploit the current advantages they perceive in the market place (and their market place is quite large).They have managed to create a brand that people want to associate with and that gives them a bit of leverage to do something like this and get away with it. It's similar to what Apple is doing with their app store.
They can complain all they want, but the only way publishers can break away from situations like this is to BREAK the monopoly that Amazon now has (it's almost certainly established)! Let's see who steps up first...
2nd Oct 2011, 09:22 am
The problem is that the publishers have spent centuries competing, so they find it difficult to work together on a website - which could in fact have saved them from being Amazoned. Similarly, the music labels could have defeated iTunes, and could perhaps still do so, and the estate agents could have defeated Rightmove. Folks just can't get into the habit of co-operating!
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