Driving the news: The American Library Association said libraries are struggling to acquire ebooks because of an "abuse of market power by dominant firms," as part of a report for the House Judiciary Committee's digital markets investigation that was made public Thursday.
Amazon markets the service to publishers as a way to have "100 percent availability of books" internationally, and the company has enrolled a number of publishers. The problem is that Amazon apparently doesn't police whether book content uploaded to CreateSpace actually belongs to the person doing the uploading.
Walking around, I half-expected to see SQL queries accompanying some of the displays — “SELECT * FROM books WHERE rating > 4.8 AND pub_year = 2017 ORDER BY number_sold”. Amazon definitely needs to figure out how to get a little weird into their stores, a little of the human touch. Toning down the data talk would help. A more casual typeface might work too — not Comic Sans but perhaps something at least approaching handwritten? They’ve got so so much data about how people buy books…they just need to be more clever about how they slice and dice it.
A recent report (pdf) from Bowker, the US company that issues International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN), shows that self-publishing is growing rapidly. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of ISBNs from self-published books grew by 375%. From 2014 and 2015 alone, the number grew by 21%.
In a company driven by engineers and run by algorithms and metrics, Amazon’s small group of book editors is an anomaly of sorts. But through the Amazon Book Review and other methods, it’s trying to build Amazon’s presence and influence in the world of literary culture.From How Amazon’s team of old-school book reviewers influences what we read | The Seattle Times
"Print books have persisted, but ebooks are not going away. Amazon is powerful, but physical bookstores are still here. The book is not immune to the powerful digital forces that have re-shaped so much of the rest of the world. At the same time, books have been able to resist the forces of change because books really are different."
Amazon will open its second physical bookstore, appropriately named Amazon Books, this summer at Westfield UTC mall, according to new signage posted in front of the e-commerce company’s future brick-and-mortar location.
Gone are the days of having to be selected to put out a book. Gone are the days of having to go to a bookstore to see what is available. Now you can check online, with real time reviews, AND, real time “bestseller” rankings. It’s unsurprising that as the barriers to entry for the book business went down, so did the quality of the books being produced. These days, over one million books are published each year, with at least half of these self-published. So it’s almost obvious that, given the volume, you could game your way to the top of a category with very few sales. And yet, in spite of the fact that it’s as easy as I’ve shown to become an Amazon best-seller, those same people get to cash in on the goodwill and prestige build up in the title “bestselling author.”
In conclusion, I see a couple of strategic advantages in Amazon Books. Such stores offer to Amazon.com, what Apple Stores provide to Apple.com. Namely a showroom where customers can try products such as Amazon Echo, Kindle Fire, Fire TV, and whatever new products they might produce in the future.
But that might be what it takes for these stores to thrive. What happens when Amazon slowly but surely competes more and more with physical locations? The company’s already expanding its grocery business, for instance, and is reducing the amount of time it takes to ship items to customers with multiple services. Amazon Books — if it’s successful — could easily become an Amazon Market. There are other advantages, too. If an item on the shelf is sold out, retail stores could provide incentives for people to pull out their phones and have the item shipped to their home later on.