Traditional Book Publishing: Doomsday Scenario?

Writers, if you hate book publishers for ignoring your efforts, your revenge may be in the offing. founder and industry visionary Jeff Bezos likens the current publishing industry to the Cambrian period some 550 million years ago, when more species evolved and more became extinct than at other time. The most dangerous course in a time like that, Bezos recently told Fast Company magazine, is "not to evolve."

Bezos is now betting that e-books and the Kindle reader are going to have a massively disruptive impact on the book publishing business. And writers could be among the key beneficiaries of the new order.

Book distributing is extremely inefficient. Publishers have to take back any books that the book sellers don't sell, and they experience return rates of 40 to 60 percent. Most retail businesses don't--and couldn't--operate that way. The book publishers also loose money on most titles, relying on the occasional "hit" to subsidize the rest.

The star authors get 15 percent of hardcover sales from the publishers. But imagine if they were selling their work directly to, for publication as an e-book. could take, say, 20% for distributing the work, and the author could keep the rest. If the top authors were lured away like this, the book publishers would be left with nothing but a money-losing operation.

There is a similar doomsday scenario looming in hard-copy publishing. already has a BookSurge Press service that small publishers use for on-demand publishing. Distribution of best-selling books from the big publishers would be a lot more efficient if, instead of ordering and warehousing 500,000 copies of a new book, simply got an electronic file of the book from the publisher and printed up the book on demand, as orders came in. Once that is happening, it doesn't take much more to cut the publishers out altogether.

Bezos could be wrong. He admits he missed the shift to digital downloads of music. But it would be nice for most writers if he is right. In these new publishing economics, there is less overhead and less risk in publishing a work from an unknown author.

See the whole story, "Amazon Taps Its Inner Apple," at Fast Company.

Views: 22


You need to be a member of She Writes to add comments!

Join She Writes

Comment by Erika on September 9, 2009 at 3:40pm
could this be understood as good news, given the last blog re:the dissemination of libraries and google's monopolizing of the e-book? for thought


Latest Activity

Jody Cantrell posted a blog post

Overcoming Procrastination Doesn't Have To Be Hard

It is something that most writers have experienced at one time or another: procrastination. It is the concurring opinion of every writer that procrastination is the worst thing that can…See More
1 hour ago
Wilma R. Davies posted a blog post

What Is The Best Thing About Using The Online Banking System?

Every single bank out there has an online banking system. This is the world of the Internet gave this ability to banks, they have made sure to take advantage of this remarkable opportunity. Banks are actually saving money by using an online banking…See More
1 hour ago
Sonja Benskin Mesher posted a blog post


an idea.the work continues. red thread and all that abounds there.the museums.…See More
3 hours ago
juanita Kirton updated their profile
10 hours ago




© 2017   Created by Kamy Wicoff.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service