If we’re honest with ourselves, this is a train wreck we all saw coming years ago… just that nobody was honest enough to say it openly.
Now that Amazon is every publisher’s largest customer by a big margin, what does this mean for our industry? What does it mean when publishers spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing and strategizing on how to optimize their sales on the Amazon platform, while Amazon is constantly shifting the way their platform works?
What does it mean when you look for an author or genre and the Amazon-published title comes up higher in the search results?
My publisher friends complain about the difficulty of their contract renegotiations with Amazon. Some suffer from PTSD triggered by recalling their experience.
And it’s not like Amazon has been doing these things secretly. There are no secret strategies. They told the world years ago they would be publishing in the most popular genres (and they know what’s most profitable by looking their sales figures).
They told us they would be translating popular foreign authors. They told us they are moving into other publishing markets like Education (schools & libraries).
They told us they are striving to optimize their buying and reading experience in both print and audio. They told us they will continue to innovate with different sales models, like print +digital bundling (matchbook), subscriptions and timed sales, other bundles and more.
Amazon has been openly telling the world their strategies because they know that the book publishing industry as a whole, and even individually, won’t do anything to stop their progress.
As Amazon continues to progress, it becomes increasingly difficult to find alternatives.
Is it game over? Not by a long shot. But let’s not fiddle while Rome is burning.
The time has come for innovative thinking and guerrilla marketing. The giant is strong and nimble but also has several weaknesses.
Let’s look for new initiatives and business channels that are not yet tapped. For example, let’s look for those companies who will NOT do business with Amazon and champion their efforts.
Sol Rosenberg is an industry consultant and pioneer in digital publishing. He is the acting CEO of 1World Content, Inc. a new initiative to bolster new markets for book distribution and sales.