Saturday, 18 February 2012

The End of Publishing as We Know it and Amazon’s Part in it

Well, the end of publishing dates anyway. Amazon have chosen not to respect the launch dates set by publishers. They seem to operate alone in the world of retail at ignoring the launch dates set by publishers. Why does this matter? Often small publishers pin a lot of credence on organising publicity and book tours and this is timed to the actual launch date which the publisher issues with its metadata to all retailers (including Amazon).

Almost in isolation Amazon chose to ignore this and send books out to any customer who orders the book the moment it is available to order. There is a difference between a book being available to order and it being available for release. Book lovers may argue that it doesn’t matter as long as they get their books. But what does matter is the respect other stores show in respecting the launch dates if they can do it, why can’t Amazon. 

Amazon have fundamentally changed publishing and many aspects of what it has done has been a much needed kick up the arse for an industry which was pretty much set in its ways. It would be easy to argue that I am asking for things to remain in stasis and that would be true if over 95% of retailers did not respect publishing dates. Amazon are just trying to steal the market share from underneath other retailers and their lack of respect for publishers and other retailers is worrying.

We have four titles due for publication on March 19th. Many of these have been eagerly awaited by readers through a campaign of online social media  activities by the authors. Every single one of these books is being sold and dispatched by Amazon over a month before the titles are actually due for release. A month before other retailers will dispatch the books.

They are one of the most difficult, frustrating and non-responsive company’s to communicate with at any level. You almost get a sense of hubris from their actions.

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