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(Note: books in picture were not purchased at Amazon.com)
Amazon.com’s plans for world domination hit a slight bump on Tuesday.
For years, the retailer has been telling Wall Street to ignore how little money it was making and focus instead on the fact that it was bringing in more and more customers and keeping them so happy they never went anywhere else for anything.
In Amazon’s fourth-quarter results, however, investors finally glimpsed off in the distance that growth beginning to flatten. Its revenue rose to $17.43 billion, up 35 percent. Most retailers would die happy with such a jump. But for the e-commerce leader, sales were nearly a billion dollars short of what analysts had been expecting.
Larry Kirshbaum was the ultimate book industry insider—until Amazon called... Amazon's Hit Man
And now this. Amazon could be an unstoppable competitor to big publishing houses. If history is any guide, Bezos, who declined to comment for this story, doesn’t care whether he loses money on books for the larger cause of stocking the Kindle with exclusive content unavailable in Barnes & Noble’s Nook or Apple’s iBookstores. He’s also got almost infinitely deep pockets for spending on advances to top authors. Even more awkwardly for publishers, Amazon is their largest retailer, so they are now in the position of having to compete against an important business partner. On the West Coast people cheerfully call this kind of arrangement coopetition. On the East Coast it’s usually referred to as getting stabbed in the back.
Booksellers and publishers are worried that Amazon is going to devour their industry. The giant online retailer seems to have its hands in all aspects of the business, from publishing books to selling them — and that has some in the book world wondering if there is any end to Amazon's influence.
Publishers have a problem when it comes to discussing Amazon: They may fear its power, but they are also dependent on it, because like it or not, Amazon sells a lot of books. But lately, the grumbling about Amazon has been growing louder, with some in the book industry openly describing Amazon's tactics as "predatory."
Full piece on NPR
Why Amazon’s Plagiarism Problem Is More Than A Public Relations Issue
Plagiarized editions for sale in Amazon’s Kindle store show how the company is still adapting to the world of original content creation. At the same time, the stolen books may also present a test of the retailer’s ability to rely on a widely used legal shield that protects content sites from being accused of copyright infringement.
Nancy Pearl and Amazon.com have struck a deal to republish some lesser recognized titles that are favorites of the Book Lust author and librarian hero.
However, not everyone is thrilled with the idea. As reported in The Seattle Times:
...Overnight, this 67-year-old Seattle grandmother has become a greedy betrayer of the small, sometimes-struggling, bookshops that so supported her. "Yes," says J.B. Dickey, owner of the Seattle Mystery Bookshop about such an assessment. "By aligning herself with Amazon, she's turning her back on independents. Amazon is absolutely antithetical to independent bookselling, and, to many of us, truth, justice and the American way."
If things sound like they've gotten a little heated over Pearl's latest project, they have.
On Wednesday, Amazon.com announced it was issuing "Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries series, a line of Pearl's favorite, presently out-of-print books to share with readers hungry for her expert recommendations."
About six books a year would be published in versions that include print books and eBooks, says the Seattle-headquartered merchandising Goliath that in 2010 had sales of $34 billion, or about $1,077 per second.
Also listen to an accompanying story via WBUR Boston Public Radio about the backlash over Amazon's Price Check offer.
Amazon Children’s Book Deal a Low-Cost Route to Growth
While Amazon has made the bulk of its headlines at the end of 2011 thanks to its Kindle Fire tablet, a quieter story about Jeff Bezos’ great machine has been unfolding — one that has seen the company returning to its roots in books. Amazon Publishing, the company’s very own book imprint, has been growing at an exponential rate over the past 12 months. The latest territory taken by Amazon Publishing: children’s books.
From an op-ed in the NYT
Excerpt: Scott Turow supplied lawyerly perspective: “The law has long been clear that stores do not invite the public in for all purposes. A retailer is not expected to serve as a warming station for the homeless or a site for band practice. So it’s worth wondering whether it’s lawful for Amazon to encourage people to enter a store for the purpose of gathering pricing information for Amazon and buying from the Internet giant, rather than the retailer. Lawful or not, it’s an example of Amazon’s bare-knuckles approach.”
Amazon's decision last week to purchase 450 children's book titles from Marshall Cavendish has left librarians wondering how the ecommerce giant will handle the books' distribution channels, and whether they'll still be available from independent bookstores and major library suppliers such as Follett, Mackin and Baker & Taylor.
Full article in School Library Journal
Amazon has three pretty powerful things going for them, and two are entirely their own doing.
Number one: Amazon is, by far, the most book-industry-focused company that is actually active in endeavors much larger than the book business.
Number two: Amazon executes.
Number three: Amazon is the runaway market leader in the only two segments of the book business that are growing — ebooks and the online purchasing of print — and they are cleverly leveraging the leadership position they have to make challenging them even more difficult in the future.