Amazon Warrior

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek senior technology writer, talks about how the publisher of Amazon's imprint is shaking up the book industry.


Brad Stone

Comments [17]

Jeff Link

Check out why Amazon is a vertical monopoly-everybody's favorite one man show.

Feb. 03 2012 01:22 PM
Ron baumbach from NY

Very interesting show. I have been working with Amazon: Create Space for my print version of my hook, and kindle for the ebook, and they have been most cooperative. I call them, I email them....and they listen and respond. My book is only out for less than four weeks,but so far I have been very happy with what I have seen.
It does take some work to get the formatting down, and I found their community forums extremely helpful.

My book is a nostalgic view of growing up in the 50's / 60's and is called:

The Last Walk on Our Block

Ron B

Feb. 03 2012 08:09 AM
Stacia Kelly from Washington DC

I'm sorry I missed the show! It sounds like it was very interesting. I have gone the ePublishing route recently. Paid a great designer to do the cover art, some great editors to help me double check and streamline my writing. I did NOT however pay someone else to format it for Kindle since many of the writing programs out there now compile your story to the correct format. It took a couple tries back and forth to get the formatting just the way I wanted it, but it's easy enough to do. Always happy to answer any questions any one has about what I did.

And yes, I went this route after having had limited help from a publisher on a different book. If I'm going to put forth all the effort, then I'm going to keep my royalties and determine where I'm going to spend them for my advertising.

Jan. 31 2012 07:57 PM
Kevin P. from Brooklyn, NY

One thing your caller, the self-publisher John from Manhattan can do is this: Instead of trying to contact Amazon directly, maybe he would do better opening up a dialogue with and following the blogs of other people in a similar situation. For example, this self-published author has a lot of it figured out and shared what he learned:

Jan. 31 2012 05:14 PM
B&N should use a hybrid-non-profit approach from Part E-reserve Nook library part store/cafe.

Barnes&Nobles should use a hybrid-non-profit approach.
A large percent of the store's square footage could become
a RESERVE-only Nook E-library (for browsing through books
on Nook E-readers - but not for checking books out of the
library). The REST would be a for-profit store and cafe.
Many organizations (including the Metropolitan Museum) have
substantial for-profit retail stores on the premises.

The reserve library would allow people to browse though and
read books on site (like much of the current sq footage).
The for-profit (smaller sqftage) on-site store will sell books,
e-books and other misc. products (toys,gifts,etc). It will
also contain an on-site cafe.

Hard-copy books would have some smaller displays, but most
actual physical merchandise could be sent up from far more
efficient inventory storage below the store (&/or off-site).
Ebooks could be purchased directly from the loaned E-readers,
online, or from the store kiosk.

Alternatively or in addition, Barnes and Nobles could partner
with existing public libraries to further reduce their
cost of space. This would allow for added revenue for the
libraries, cost sharing of some basic staff and utilities costs,
extend library hours, and provide B&N with an on-site store/
cafe with the added brand recognition of B&N being affiliated
with famous libraries like the NYPL, and for the Nook to become
a/the official ereader of leading libraries (like the NYPL).

The NYPL could use RESERVE-ONLY e-reading rooms/study areas
with long extended hours - it'd improve service to their

Jan. 31 2012 05:08 PM
Lyn Familant from NYC

You can make gorgeous books on this site: I know a listener was asking...she should really try this; I made a book of my blog from them and was so impressed!!!

Jan. 31 2012 12:59 PM
April from Manhattan

Amazon is the internet equivalent of Walmart. The left doesn't want to hear that. The internet is the best thing that ever happened for corporate monopolies, and Amazon is a prime example. Someone just mentioned all the independent book stores still in NYC. Not in my neighborhood. When Barnes and Noble moved in, right across the street from Shakespeare and Co, it closed, along with Endicott on Columbus, both marvelous stores where people knew something about books and could recommend what might interest you. There were readings. When they're no more bookstores where will authors sign books after readings. How will that affect their sales. I have "friends"who go into B&N, read a book, then go buy it on When I moved here permanently in '79, 5th Ave was lined with publishing house bookstores. I could spend hours in them, and bought books knowing what I was buying. Now there's an app to tell you how much less you would pay on Amazon. Small independents are disappearing on the upper East Side, used book stores are good in my hood.

Then there's the fact that e readers use energy to read, must be shipped to China to be recycled, then, like all electronics, end up toxic in waste dumps. We do recycle paper efficiently and can use it as mulch here or ship it to the amazon to use on farms, to stop the continuing slash and burn of jungle in places like Brazil. I'll leave my many books to a prison, where they might save and change lives. People read in prison and most prisons don't have libraries of their own. I heard an Amazon guy on late night NPR bragging about how much more "efficient" it was to sell books online, since so many fewer workers were needed in their cubicles. Instead of in the human warmth of a bookstore. We stopped Walmart in NYC. Stop Amazon. Support your local independent bookstore, or a chain, if, as in my neighborhood, that's all there is. People who work at B&N know this.

Jan. 31 2012 11:58 AM
John Huntington from Brooklyn

I just caught this discussion at the end and wasn't able to call in. I have a technical book that was published by a trade publisher for three editions. The last edition sold 2100 copies but the publisher decided that they couldn't make money on another edition, so I negotiated the rights back. I'm working on Amazon's Create Space print on demand platform, and I estimated my up front costs to Amazon will be a few hundred dollars, and I'll hire my own copy editor and cover designer. I estimate that through Createspace I'll be able to make back all my costs by selling only about 300 copies; anything over that will be a dramatic increase in royalties to me--like 10 times the amount I used to get from my publisher. So in my experience, with an established book, my publisher was offering me nothing and, in my opinion, throwing potential earnings away.

It will cost me a couple hundred bucks to get the book converted (in a high quality format) to Kindle, and I took a survey from my readers about what it all should cost; my survey results even made it onto Boing Boing:

I'm happy to talk to you further about this if you'd like...

Love the show!

Jan. 31 2012 11:49 AM
ANGELA from Brooklyn

One big question I have with digital publishing by companies like amazon, apple, and even Netflix is "what about the kids!?" Kids dont read books on a kindle, there are no pictures. Will amazon cater to the needs of the childrens book industry, and will it be easier or harder for an independent children's book illustrator like myself?

Jan. 31 2012 11:46 AM
Erica Miles from Manhattan

Amazon's new self-publishing company is I will be publishing my novel, DAZZLED BY DARKNESS, a fantasy-romance set in the sixties, with them next month. This will be a soft cover edition they will make available on It has been a real pleasure working with this company. Their customer service is great, their formatting skills are fantastic, and the customer has a great deal of control over the process, plus access to better competitive royalties than with traditional publishers.

Jan. 31 2012 11:42 AM
John Huntington Is Amazon's print on demand division

Jan. 31 2012 11:42 AM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes NJ

Amazon takes 55% of list price for physical books. You pay shipping. Amazon owns print on demand company Createspace. Createspace automatically puts your book up on amazon.

Jan. 31 2012 11:42 AM
Melody from nyc

Amazon is a retailer.. not a publisher.

Jan. 31 2012 11:39 AM
Jay from New York

Can we spell vertical monopoly A . . M . . A . . Z . . O . . N ?
This is crazy. When the seller controls the market and the product, with overwhelming strength, it is time for government intervention. Amazon is just another corporation sucking the freedom out of the marketplace. Innovation, yes, but ultimately, it is all about profits. Time for intervention!

Jan. 31 2012 11:38 AM
Bob from Huntington

Yes, and think about it, now all the reading your order online will also become part of Google's vast database of information about you.

Jan. 31 2012 11:37 AM

I would be very interested to hear how your guest thinks this shift will affect academic, as opposed to trade, publishing.

Jan. 31 2012 11:34 AM
MP from Brooklyn

I work for a very old and respected university press. You can bet that all of us in academic publishing will be VERY interested to see where this goes.

Jan. 31 2012 11:33 AM

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