• You’re welcome. I’m thinking of putting together an FAQ of sorts, too. The Konrath’s and Gaughran’s of the world breathe this stuff, but I have to take time to dip back in to remember all the ins and outs.

  1. Adan – I like Andrew’s post, though I get a little flinchy when arguments are boiled down to superlatives to advance the thesis (for example, I think few authors who have really studied the situation think of Amazon as a white knight riding in to save indie writers’ bacon. We’re all very aware that Amazon is a multi-billion dollar corporation trying to create dominant market share).

    But his general thesis is sound, which is why I’ve been so disappointed with Kobo. I thought–with a few hundred million dollar infusion from Japanese retail giant Rakuten–Kobo would actually arise as decent competition for Amazon, but they can’t seem to get out of their own way with terrible search engine implementation, few promotional innovations or tools, and damaging business stances (their shutdown of erotica, if I remember correctly).

    Also, as I come to learn more about the industry and the historical friction between Amazon and legacy publishing, the more aware I am of some of the mismatched arguments going on. For instance, you’ll notice that Konrath, Howey, et. al. point out rightly that Amazon is a DISTRIBUTOR and the Big Five are PRODUCERS. It’s a trope that’s been beaten to death, but it bears repeating that any producer could, at any time, sell its books somewhere else, including its own storefront and take the nascent book distribution monopoly away from Amazon within a relatively short time. So comparisons of Amazon’s “monopoly” vis-a-vis the Big Five, which is central to Andrew’s approach, are not accurate, which bugs me. 🙂

    But the big picture remains the same, which is why I still like the post: whether we’re talking producers or sellers, monopolies or cartels, authors still need to look out for themselves or each other as a whole because, well, that’s what everyone else is doing. In the case of Hachette, I believe it’s at the expense of authors and indie writers. In the case of Amazon, it’s not…yet, but we should stay smart and fight for healthy competition, transparency, and fairness.

    • Matthew, thanks so much for going over Andrew’s post. I really liked your last few words, almost sounded like a Constitution for Authors 🙂

      “healthy competition, transparency, and fairness”

      And it’s not hard to see how this is sorely needed in so many areas of our everyday life. Your new article on the end of TV (as we know it), and all the competitive forces working there, is a great example.

      Books themselves are a subset (even if very important one for many of us) of creative content. And often an originator of an outreach of creative variations, on TV, movies, plays, etc.

      Plus with subscription services clamoring at the gates, negotiations between entities like Hatchett and “the” entity that is Amazon 🙂 may involve more than we suspect.

      After all, if it easy to surmise the end of cable companies, it’s not hard to imagine where other business models would also need to change.

      Either way, I’m glad you’re compiling these cliff notes. I know I need them!

      Thanks Matthew,


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