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Forbes Article Argues that Amazon Monopoly Good for Publishing

Sramana Mitra writes in a recent article that an Amazon Monopoly that eliminates the editors, agents, distributors, and everyone else that stands between Amazon and the customer (other than the author) can actually improve publishing and increase the monetary benefit to the author. The suggestion is that by eliminating the middleman, it frees up a big chunk of the pie to be given to the author. This presumes, of course, that a greater chunk of the pie would actually be given to the author. After all, what incentive would Amazon have if it was the entire publishing, marketing, retailing arm of the book industry to pay the author anything but pennies on the dollar, kind of like what is going on now?

101 Reasons to Stop Writing has other criticisms of Mitra’s theory. I’m thinking that monopoly power over a creative industry is really not a good thing.

Thanks RebeccaJ.

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. (Jān)
    Jun 06, 2008 @ 23:52:03

    That also incorrectly assumes that those “middlemen” serve no purpose. I mean, no editors? I shudder to imagine it.

  2. MS Jones
    Jun 08, 2008 @ 03:14:01

    The Forbes article also seems to conflate e-bookery/readery with Amazon. I’d have to agree that epublishing is going to change the literary landscape, but I just don’t see why all those gigantic media moguls can’t spike Amazon’s guns with some promotional strategies. For example, every time a consumer buys a book directly from Random House’s website, they could be entered in a random drawing for a free Sony e-reader. The amount of increased traffic would offset the costs of the devices. I wish they’d at least try to stop the Amazon juggernaut! Because I, too, am concerned about one company being the be-all and end-all for the consumer.

    I suppose that the publishers are trying to maintain their traditional relationships with booksellers. But it is a sad fact of life that bookstores are going to have to re-invent themselves too.

  3. Nora Roberts
    Jun 09, 2008 @ 09:10:18

    There are too many inaccuracies in the article to count. If the writer of the article wanted to take a stand on this business, he or she might have done some actual research first, and gotten the facts and figures straight.

  4. oh grasshopper, you have much to learn « Collection Developments @ Sno-Isle
    Jun 09, 2008 @ 19:28:07

    […] 9, 2008 · No Comments Dear Author posted a commentary from a Forbes’ columnist claiming that authors will benefit monetarily […]

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