Amazon moves aggressively into world of book publishing
As Amazon pushes harder into the world of book publisher, and not just seller, it's making the big publishing companies nervous at the same time it reaches out to authors.
Story from PRI's Studio 360. Listen to audio above for full report.
Amazon had its second Campfire conference week.
They brought together a group of writers for an under-the-radar gathering in Santa Fe, N.M., what is likely just another step in Amazon's road to becoming a full-fledged publisher in its own right.
In recent months Amazon has been hiring highly respected editors, and the company is putting out 122 titles this fall.
Amazon is already the world's largest retailer of books. As a publisher, it will be selling its own products alongside products by the "big six" publishers — who are not only partners, but now rivals as well. The Big Six include Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, Random House and Simon & Schuster.
Jason Boog, editor of the book industry blog GalleyCat, said Amazon is poised to become the next big powerhouse in publishing, but it comes at a sensitive time.
"We're watching the publishing industry contract, because digital books don't bring in the same margins of profit that you would see with a hardcover," Boog said. "As Amazon taps into these millions of people that want to self-publish, they're going to have a tremendous distribution channel."
Boog, who is writing a book about how the publishing industry weathered the Great Depression, thinks despite the new competition, publishers will survive.
"The ultimate effect of having Amazon in there is we're going to see a smarter publishing industry," he said. "We're not going to just print 100,000 copies of a book and see what happens."
PRI's Peabody Award-winning "Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen" from WNYC is public radio's smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy -- so let "Studio 360" steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life.