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Amazon’s Increasing Market Dominance Worries PUblishers

It has been said by many an author that their sales at Amazon account for only a small (mostly single digit percentage) of overall sales. Yet, it’s growing sales is causing concern amongst publishers. Amazon’s sales have grown each quarter by leaps and bounds. The first quarter of ’08 say a 22% increase.

A real worry is the possibility Amazon will combine its content creation with its sales and distribution arm. For example, it would be much easier for a company like Amazon to set up an advance-free scenario with an author and provide monthly royalties based on its online sales. The infrastructure already exists and if Amazon had a large enough market share this set up might be very attractive to authors.

One publisher at London’s Book Fair said “It’s only a matter of time before they approach a major author to sign directly with them.'” Janet Evanovich decided to forego having a professional agent in favor of having her son handle this matter for her. Someone like Evanovich, with a huge and loyal following, could decide that cutting out one more step in the publishing to shelf process would increase her royalties.

Via Publishers Weekly.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Angela James
    May 20, 2008 @ 08:16:39

    Something not just authors and publishers should worry about, but readers as well since it’s essentially a move to self-publishing.

  2. (Jān)
    May 20, 2008 @ 08:56:25

    Ick. I’ve still not purchased anything from them since the Reba debacle, and I’ve not missed them. The more they become like Microsoft, the more I’ll make sure I turn to other options.

  3. Bev Stephans
    May 20, 2008 @ 09:15:55

    I too haven’t purchased anything from the mighty behemoth that is known as Amazon since the Reba debacle. In fact, I closed my account. You don’t know what I went through to close said account. Now we have another example of their octopus-like ways. Bah, humbug! There are too many other online bookstores to bother with Amazon….used and new!

  4. veinglory
    May 20, 2008 @ 18:28:02

    Yet as the boycotts grow (Reba, POD monopoly, dog fighting video slaes, one click etc) they make even more money. I dropped them last month too but I suspect we are not a representative sample.

  5. Throwmearope
    May 20, 2008 @ 19:21:13

    They might miss me, I used to support them singlehandedly. (Sheepish grin.) Oh, well, making my local BN happy. Too bad Borders is too far away.

  6. Kimber An
    May 20, 2008 @ 20:20:57

    I get the publishers’ worries, but I’d appreciate more explanation as to why this is a bad thing for authors.

  7. Shiloh Walker
    May 20, 2008 @ 20:24:30

    Too bad Borders is too far away.

    Borders new online store should be up and going at some point. Just throwing that out there. :)

  8. Shiloh Walker
    May 20, 2008 @ 20:26:00

    Kimber An, anything that attempts to control that big a slice of the pie isn’t ever a good thing. They get authors in their stable and then they start deciding to cut into things like royalties, or editorial decisions. Who knows.

    I don’t want Amazon in my business.

    They are a retail store. Let them stay that way.

  9. Angela James
    May 20, 2008 @ 20:33:15

    They get authors in their stable and then they start deciding to cut into things like royalties, or editorial decisions.

    If there are editorial decisions. Again, you’re talking about basically self-publishing. And if Amazon does start offering those services a publisher does–editorial, cover art, blurbs, as an author you would need to evaluate them just like you would any other publisher. But if they don’t offer those services, then I suppose it’s no big deal for the author, as long as you feel you don’t need editing–or don’t mind paying a professional service to do it–as well as cover art, etc.

  10. Shiloh Walker
    May 20, 2008 @ 22:12:41

    But if they don't offer those services, then I suppose it's no big deal for the author, as long as you feel you don't need editing-or don't mind paying a professional service to do it-as well as cover art, etc.

    Nah. I like having somebody do those things for me.


  11. Francois
    May 21, 2008 @ 04:25:29

    I don’t see the problem. They have an increasing market share because they provide a good service for the consumer. Online book shops are way better than high street for the sort of stuff I want to buy. If I could find my books in the high street I would. I also use Microsoft Windows because its convenient and easy – and that doesn’t seem to have killed off every other software developer quite yet.

  12. DS
    May 21, 2008 @ 14:56:13

    I would worry more about it if publishers had not already done their big fish eats little fish thing. Many of the publishers I bought paperbacks from when out are either dead or swallowed up– Curtis, Ace, Lancer, Berkley, DAW, Magnum, Paperback Library, Popular Library, Fawcett, Paperjacks, MacFadden and some I’m sure I have forgotten.

  13. Lil
    May 22, 2008 @ 10:27:05

    You should be much more concerned about a possible acquisition of Borders by B&N. Amazon is much less likely to dictate to publishers about what to publish (unlike B&N, where the buyers often say, “I won’t support this book unless you do X to it.”)

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