When it comes to book selling (and publishing) Amazon enters into almost every conversation lasting more than a few seconds.
On a daily basis, one can find internet stories and articles either praising or slagging the giant; it is either the saviour of publishing or its destroyer. More often than not opinions are lined up according to one’s profession or vested interest.
On the Passive Voice, best-selling thriller writer Barry Eisler speaks out to writers who still believe that legacy publishers are less scary than Amazon. He addresses the ‘what if ‘ factor that is whispered throughout the industry. What if Amazon becomes completely dominant and then scales back their generous royalty structure? Eisler argues persuasively that ‘what if’ is nothing short of fear mongering, that writers now locked into legacy publishers are already getting a smaller share of the pie that they, as creators, are entitled to.
An American Editor views Amazon through different lenses. The blog perceives Amazon as a threat to the once flourishing profession, and asks if perhaps editors as a group should completely avoid purchasing books from Amazon. This action of course is merely a symbolic gesture towards a company that the writer believes places much less value on their profession than previous publishing models.
Amazon is neither saviour nor destroyer. It is a company at the forefront of innovation in an industry that must change in order to survive. It’s success reflects the value it offers to book buyers and, more recently, content creators. Other companies that find a way to offer value to consumers and content providers will compete for a share of the market.
Change is not only happening, it’s accelerating.