Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sour Grapes, or a Reason to Worry?

If you're interested in the world of publishing, then you're aware that Amazon has been moving aggressively to take over some of the traditional publishers' territory by  providing a venue for new authors to publish ebooks, establishing its own publishing house, and cutting deals directly with established authors to publish and sale their books in both traditional and electronic formats.  Both agents and publishers are being cut out by Amazon, and the industry is worried.  Now Barnes and Noble has announced that it will not carry books published by Amazon Publishing.

Amazon's actions look like some much-needed democratization in publishing, and normally I'd be all for competition as it tends to result in a better product for the consumer.  But the lawyer in me can't help but worry about the consolidation of production and distribution (i.e., the publishing and retailing functions).  That's never a good thing for the people who actually produce the product, as it significantly lessens the ability to negotiate a reasonable price for the product.  Authors may soon find themselves dealing with a hegemon.

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