Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, was very wise to capitalize on the growth of the internet to start his online retail venture. He chose books as his first avenue because of the number of titles that were available at the time. He realized that a virtual bookstore could house a significantly more books than a brick and motor store such a Barnes and Noble. In a years time, Amazon became “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore.” The statistics clearly show that books were the right direction to start the company in, but now Bezos is focusing on books in a different light. He doesn’t want to just sell books he wants to create them, and he’s giving the “Big 5,” listed below, a run for their money and taking self-publishing to another level.
Self-Publishing has had a bad reputation for a long time because of vanity presses. They charge authors thousands of dollars to print their books, but offer no support in editing, marketing, or distribution. Although self-publishing and vanity presses are separate entities, they have been lumped together which has caused some confusion. In true self-publishing, an author pays for everything such as editing, marketing, printing, and distribution. This can be time-consuming and costly, but if an author is successful they keep all the royalties. Amazon has found a way to revolutionize self-publishing. Below are the publishing services that Amazon offers:
Since 2007, Amazon has been working on ways to improve the publishing process and with these services they found a way to release the stigma from self-publishing. Avid reader, Alexis Wright, feels that, “the book industry is moving away from the big book deal and lots of small-scale authors are getting themselves out there…quality work comes from self-publishing. Sometimes they need a little professional help, but that comes with the territory.” Her sentiments couldn’t be more true. With the rise of the e-book, published authors are actually leaving “Big 5” publishers. It all comes down to money. “Big 5” publishers are offering royalties ranging from 10%-15%, while Amazon is offering up to 70%. Former acquisitions assistant manager, freelance editor and professional book reviewer, Kathie Spitz, recounts how an author she worked with transitioned from an established publisher to self-publishing stating, “she’s gone independent, for the most part, and she does exceedingly well. But she [first] learned how to do it…with a publisher.”
Amazon is known for going big, fast, and it’s definitely shaking up the publishing industry. With its massive success in book selling, buying, and now publishing, many publishers and big named authors aren’t too happy. Is Amazon shaking up the industry too fast, too soon?