Amazon’s Book Publishing Plans Brings Hope to Independent Writers

By Kenna McHugh Comment


The “Slush Pile” just got an exciting makeover courtesy of the bookselling pioneer Amazon. The Seattle-based giant, which sells more books than any other bookstore in America, is planning a big move to compete with book publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

Sources close to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos are indicating the company may be about to launch its own book publishing house. The news comes a week after the company announced that its retail bookselling division is now selling more Kindle Books than eBooks. If you have been following the trend, then you know this is a milestone that is only approached by the success of Apple’s iBookstore as well as the strong classic backlists of the major New York book publishing companies. Backlists are the books that a publisher has kept in print over several years, as singled out from newly issued titles.

However, part of the reason that Amazon has taken such dominant control of the market rests on the fact that their IT department has designed apps for virtually every other computing platform currently available to readers, including Windows, Blackberry, Apple’s iPhone and iPad – to name just a few. Amazon also seems to have correctly judged the difficult issue of Digital Rights Management. And combining that with their increasingly more affordable Kindle device readers are allowed to lend sought-after Kindle titles to friends and family, including specialty book publishers. However, Apple appears to be more restrictive by not allowing any substantive sharing of iBook titles from the iTunes store.

But what ramifications will this potentially groundbreaking news have on independent and self-published authors? To put it briefly, Amazon’s potential intervention will mean more choice and more healthy competition to new literary talent in a stuffy and elitist industry where far too many good authors are overlooked and don’t get the start they need or deserve.

Evidence conducted by Schiel & Denver Book Publishers supports the assertion that self-publishing stars like Amanda Hocking shouldn’t be the exception. However, she is the exception. There are many independent authors who deserve excellent distribution for their manuscripts. It means a distribution at the level that only big publishers can afford.

According to Schiel & Denver, presently, these talented authors are stuck with self-publishing options alone, or resorting to the services of self-publishing companies. Many of these options fail to provide good authors with the substantive expertise and ISBN support necessary for a successful book publishing venture. With interesting new submission guidelines said to be part of the deal, Amazon’s new publishing divisions, along with its powerful Kindle and Encore programs, may be the answers to many independent author’s need to finally get published.

Interestingly, while wrapping up this article, Associated Press reported that James Patterson is an e-book mega-seller. The Hachette Book Group announced Wednesday that e-sales for the productive author have topped 3 million, with 2 million coming just in the last 11 months. The e-book market has surged in 2011, thanks to the popularity of such devices as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.