Yes, much of the literary world is in full-throated revolt against Amazon’s dominance — bookstores fear Amazon will pushthemoutofbusiness, authors worry about deepdiscounting, and the Department of Justice is considering the major publishers’ challenge over the price of e-books. But amid the public and private rancor, the massive e-retailer is very quietly trying to make friends in the book world. Its strategy is simple and employs a weapon Amazon has in overwhelming supply: Money.
The Brooklyn Book Festival is just one of many recent beneficiaries of Amazon’s largess. According to a list on Amazon’s site, prestigious groups such as the PEN American Center, journals like the Los Angeles Review of Books,One Story, Poets & Writers and Kenyon Review, mentorship programs such as 826 Seattle and Girls Write Now, and associations including the Lambda Literary Foundation, Voice of Witness and Words Without Borders have all received grants.
An anonymous insider at one of New York’s big six publishers thinks so. According to a letter posted on pandodaily, and headlined a “confession,” the biggest issue is not that Amazon has made publishing margins razor-thin, it’s that Amazon is now attempting to publish the bestsellers that “cover our fixed costs” itself.
What Is @author?
@author is new feature in a limited beta release on Kindle and Amazon Author Pages that connects readers with their favorite writers and their books. It’s easy: Readers can ask AUTHORS questions directly from their Kindles, or post them to Amazon Author Pages.
Anyone who has purchased items from Amazon.com can reply to an existing question or ask a new one, and all visitors to Amazon.com can read any current question or response…
It is in beta, for now.
Spam has hit the Kindle, clogging the online bookstore of the top-selling eReader with material that is far from being book worthy and threatening to undermine Amazon.com Inc’s publishing foray.
Thousands of digital books, called ebooks, are being published through Amazon’s self-publishing system each month. Many are not written in the traditional sense.
Instead, they are built using something known as Private Label Rights, or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book.
A UK publisher’s lament: She loses more than £2 every time one of her books is sold on Amazon.
As Lynn Michell, publisher of the Scottish press Linen Press (“Great writing for women, by women”), explains in a commentary for the Guardian,
Amazon takes 60% of my RRP [cover price] (in the book trade, the bigger the sales outfit, the bigger the discount they demand from the publisher: Amazon 60%; Waterstones 50%; independent bookshop 35%). On a £11.99 book, Amazon’s takings are￡£7.20. Mine are £4.80.
Out of this comes £2.50 to pack and post the book to Amazon, and the author’s royalties on a heavily discounted book reduced to 50p. My writers lose out on an Amazon sale, too. That leaves 82p for Linen Press, but the book cost £4 to produce. So I lose £2.18 on every sale by Amazon.