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Old 10-22-2014, 03:20 PM   #1
Shane R
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Amazon is doing the world a favor by crushing book publishers

Interesting argument, but leaves off the fact that the publishers are needed to produce the deadwood books that people do want.

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Here's a little real talk about the book publishing industry — it adds almost no value, it is going to be wiped off the face of the earth soon, and writers and readers will be better off for it.
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These are not tiny, helpless enterprises. Were their owners interested in the future of books and publishing, they could invest the money necessary to make their own e-reading apps and e-book store and render Amazon entirely superfluous. But the managers of these conglomerates don't really care... they'd rather wring whatever remaining profit there is out of book publishing and dedicate the money to dividends or other industries they're also involved in.

http://www.vox.com/2014/10/22/701682...hette-monopoly
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Old 10-22-2014, 04:16 PM   #2
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I was expecting to find the article too extremist, but it turned out that was just the title.

The article itself is well written and totally sane, and really smacks a lot of the recent hullaballoo down in a single, confident move. Excellent article.
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Old 10-22-2014, 04:50 PM   #3
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Made perfect sense to me too
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Old 10-22-2014, 05:29 PM   #4
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Totally agree with the article.

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Originally Posted by Shane R View Post
but leaves off the fact that the publishers are needed to produce the deadwood books that people do want.
Yes, it does read like he truly meant to say "ebook" everywhere here said "book." Maybe it was an autocorrect error....

I will disagree with you, however, that trad publishers are NEEDED for pbooks.
Or rather, that they will be needed for much longer.
At least in the form they take now.

Everything of value they offer is being rapidly democratized and made available through other mechanisms.

But that's a matter for another thread.

ApK
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:36 PM   #5
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Totally agree with the article.


Yes, it does read like he truly meant to say "ebook" everywhere here said "book." Maybe it was an autocorrect error....

I will disagree with you, however, that trad publishers are NEEDED for pbooks.
Or rather, that they will be needed for much longer.
At least in the form they take now.

Everything of value they offer is being rapidly democratized and made available through other mechanisms.

But that's a matter for another thread.

ApK
Right now there is nothing the BPHs do for pbooks that can't be done without them.

Editing, formatting, etc? Freelancers laid off from tradpub.
Print editions? POD, job shops, China, Inc.
B&M bookstore distribution? Ingram. Baker & Taylor.
Financing? Kickstarter, etc. Or just go ebook first and let ebook sales finance the pbook.
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Right now there is nothing the BPHs do for pbooks that can't be done without them.

Editing, formatting, etc? Freelancers laid off from tradpub.
Print editions? POD, job shops, China, Inc.
B&M bookstore distribution? Ingram. Baker & Taylor.
Financing? Kickstarter, etc. Or just go ebook first and let ebook sales finance the pbook.
But who is going to blow sunshine up Doug Preston's butt and tell him how special he is?

I don't agree with the article and I do believe that the publishers add value. They just don't add as much value as they pretend they do. I also don't think that Amazon is "crushing them". There's big opportunity in those margins and someone needs to challenge them for it.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:26 PM   #7
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There's big opportunity in those margins and someone needs to challenge them for it.
It would be better if the margins went to the folks writing the stories.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:39 PM   #8
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It sounds like Matt Yglesias is going indie with his next book (his last was published by Simon & Schuster). Could this article be the prelude to the marketing campaign he didn't get from S&S?

How much his indie title sells could then be seen as a very partial test of the Yglesias thesis.

One problem with complaining about the marketing of your book is that the most obvious form of marketing, advertising, doesn't much help with books. At least, that's what Mike Shatzkin writes, and I'm thinking he knows.

Here's the only example I know of where one of the nonfiction authors I like has gone indie:

http://www.cringely.com/2014/06/04/decline-fall-ibm/

As far as I can see from reading the first chapter, and reviews, author Robert X. Cringely/Mark Stephens did better work under major publisher supervision. We'll see about Yglesias. And that's what it is all about to me. You can't tell me that publishers add nothing until I see their books are no longer superior to the those of the opposition.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Right now there is nothing the BPHs do for pbooks that can't be done without them.
What part of "a matter for another thread" did you not understand?!?
Kidding.

Quote:
Editing, formatting, etc? Freelancers laid off from tradpub.
Print editions? POD, job shops, China, Inc.
B&M bookstore distribution? Ingram. Baker & Taylor.
Financing? Kickstarter, etc. Or just go ebook first and let ebook sales finance the pbook.
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But who is going to blow sunshine up Doug Preston's butt and tell him how special he is?
There's a section on Craig's List for that.
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Old 10-22-2014, 09:23 PM   #10
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There's a section on Craig's List for that.
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Right now there is nothing the BPHs do for pbooks that can't be done without them.

Editing, formatting, etc? Freelancers laid off from tradpub.
Print editions? POD, job shops, China, Inc.
B&M bookstore distribution? Ingram. Baker & Taylor.
Financing? Kickstarter, etc. Or just go ebook first and let ebook sales finance the pbook.
Distribution to the extent that customers can order the book through a B&M bookstore? Easy. To the extent that it's regularly stocked on shelves? That's the hard part and where the BPHs and their sales staffs do offer an advantage.

The BPHs are still the only game in town for getting 10+ physical copies in every B&N in the nation on launch day.

That's the one thing they can do better than anyone else.
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Old 10-22-2014, 11:07 PM   #12
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Distribution to the extent that customers can order the book through a B&M bookstore? Easy. To the extent that it's regularly stocked on shelves? That's the hard part and where the BPHs and their sales staffs do offer an advantage.

The BPHs are still the only game in town for getting 10+ physical copies in every B&N in the nation on launch day.

That's the one thing they can do better than anyone else.
Yes, but it helps that the bookstore chains are very cozy with the publishers.
B&N wants to launch and promote BWM titles, and couldn't care less about indies.

Hardly surprising that BWM publishers have the advantage in that area.
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Old 10-22-2014, 11:23 PM   #13
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Yes, but it helps that the bookstore chains are very cozy with the publishers.
B&N wants to launch and promote BWM titles, and couldn't care less about indies.

Hardly surprising that BWM publishers have the advantage in that area.
Payola only goes so far.
And it is getting both more expensive and less effective as B&M traffic declines.
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Old 10-24-2014, 04:22 PM   #14
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Books are published by giant conglomerates.... These are not tiny, helpless enterprises.
Cannot be repeated enough.
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