Amazon, The Bigger The Better?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Huntn, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #1
    Heard an interesting debate on PBS radio last night between book authors debating if Amazon was a friend to authors as opposed to traditional book publishers. As you may know Amazon is accused of trying to kill tradional publishing. One argument was that publishers were tyrants and censors, the only avenue to bring books to a larger audience, accepting one out of fifty manuscripts. The opposite argument was that publishers act as screeners only bringing worthy works to the market, editing them into decent English, and as kick starters offering advances on books. The opposite argument was that those advances could be pitifully small and spread out over years. Another argument I heard was that tradional publishers fund research type books, books that require travel and documentation.

    I suppose I don't know enough about it although I fear that Amazon may be getting too big. We know what happens when competition disappears.

    Interestingly Both Apple and Google were mentioned regarding eBooks, but they don't offer printed books so advantage goes to Amazon. It was said, that Apple moved into eBooks because they saw Amazon gobbling the market.

    Read more here:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/01/will-amazon-kill-publishing/252218/

    http://mashable.com/2014/07/30/amazon-has-killed-publishers-they-just-dont-know-it-yet/
     
  2. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #2
    Not exactly analogous, but, Amazon reminds me of the old AT&T -- innovative, technological, arrogant, ravenous, ruthless, all at the same time, depending on what you were trying to do.

    I have an acquaintance who published a "small" book through an on-demand publisher. Amazon has graciously listed these books and publishers and you can order the book with the press of a button. That is the good side of Amazon. In the old days, it never would have seen the light of day.

    On The Other Hand, ...


    In the meantime, even prior to Amazon, the quality of editing that publishers were providing was already taking a nosedive, so, the "opposite argument" you cite was already eroding.

    I actually hope that Amazon kills off what I would call the abusive college textbook industry. But, it hasn't-- apparently tenure committees must still give weight to professors textbook publishing ventures, and, the publishers have pushed up sales by cranking out new editions faster than ever, with locked (unlock for a fee) online problem set checkers. An unpopular opinion I suppose, but, I consider this situation completely unethical.
     
  3. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #3
    Amazon is only accelerating a process that was going to happen anyway.

    P-Worm
     
  4. FieldingMellish Suspended

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #4
    Lots of businesses went out with the advent of computers, then Internet. Meanwhile, convenience trumps all. Other media has apparently been acceptably compromised such as streaming movies, video, music, photography; all defining quality down.
     
  5. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Location:
    República Cascadia
    #5
    Publishers don't fund jack. For example, if you write (say) an illustrated book about the 2014 election and a publisher buys it, then you--the author--has to pay for the publishing rights of any photographs you want to illustrate your books. You're also responsible for 99% of your own publicity, too. That's just an example.

    I heard this last week from a published author of children's history books. She also told me she makes about what a new public school teacher makes, except she has no insurance and no retirement. It's a living, but it's a precarious one. Sure, the publishers treat the Stephen King's and Dennis Lehane's like royalty, but most books are a gamble and the authors are treated accordingly.

    As far as Amazon, I don't know if they're good or bad but I buy more books since Amazon came into existence than I did before.
     

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