Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Will Amazon Destroy Publishing?

In a recent post on Amazon and the future of publishing, self-publishing giant JA Konrath says:

Treating authors like ****, when authors are essential to the process, is bad business.  Treating readers like ****, when readers are essential to the process, is bad business.  Bookstores and publishers and distributors are NOT essential to the process. You should have evolved.”

Wow. (Except for the bad word, which I’ve ****’d out. It wasn’t a really bad word, just one I don’t use, hence the ****).

That pretty much cuts to the chase, doesn’t it? Authors are important, because they write the books. Readers are important, because they pay for the books. But you can cut out at least two of the intermediate steps.

Christian literary agent Rachelle Gardner made similar points, commenting on the downfall of Kodak because they didn’t keep pace with the changing way consumers were taking and sharing photos.

As a reader who lives in New Zealand, these posts are relevant to me. Most of the books I’ve bought in the last year have been e-books (from both Amazon and Kobo), because they are cheaper. The paperback that my local Christian bookshop sells for NZD 24.99 to NZD 29.99 costs no more than USD 9.99 online, and many are free.

My Kindle has over 300 books, and I estimate I’ve paid less than NZD 50 for all of them. Now, I admit I haven’t actually read a lot of the freebies – but there sure is a selection of all kinds of books waiting for me. If I feel like serious Bible study, it’s there. If I want light-hearted romance, it’s there. If I want nail-biting suspense, it’s there. The only remaining advantage of a ‘real’ book is that I can loan it to other people.

So, will ‘traditional’ publishing last, or will Amazon (and other e-book publishers) take over?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Iola,
    This is a really great blog. I agree with all that you've said here, having acquired my very first new kindle just a few weeks ago. I followed your link to Joe Konrath's post too. Hmm, all very interesting and we've got to wonder. I think electronic books are a great step in the right direction. I love being able to slip several books into my handbag in the form of one light kindle.