Does Amazon represent the future or the end of books?

One has to marvel at Amazon.  In spite of the warnings provided by the music industry and iTunes, authors and publishers keep right on giving (yes, giving!) away their content to Amazon for the “privilege” of being listed on Amazon’s store and having a “Kindle” version of a book.  Do authors or publishers get a percentage of the Kindle device sales? No.   Should they? Well, for an answer to that question, you might want to ask a few unemployed music executives who thought a 70% margin on $0.99 iTunes downloads was sufficient, never realizing that Apple’s real cash cow was the device itself (the iPod), sales for which the music industry received nothing, even though without music the iPod was useless.    Does that sound similar to the Kindle?

Or you may want to ask musicians ranging from Garth Brooks to AC/DC, who believe iTunes is “killing” music, according to Prefix Magazine.  The analogy is right on point with what is happening in the publishing world today.

While I would never think to suggest that authors who choose to publish directly through Amazon are literally digging their own graves, it is worth considering.   I was reading the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Boston Review article “Books After Amazon: Publishing’s Race to the Bottom” by Onnesha Roychoudhuri, and I wanted to share this excerpt:

Cheap books are easy on our wallets, but behind the scenes publishers large and small have been deeply undercut by the rise of large retailers and predatory pricing schemes. Unless publishers push back, Amazon will take the logic of the chains to its conclusion. Then publishers and readers will finally know what happens when you sell a book like it’s a can of soup.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.