Sadly that’s a question that many authors are asking themselves this week following Amazon’s takeover of Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. You can read the whole article here http://tinyurl.com/cwl6acj
Publishers get bought over all the time so in that sense it’s really no big deal, after all, publishing is a business and takeovers and buyouts are common business practice.
The question mark here is over the fact that it’s Amazon.
Lately it seems that Amazon is on a quest to take over the world of publishing, the Kindle Direct Programme (KDP) has been an unprecedented success, hell, I use it myself. Amazon seem to be streets ahead when it comes to the self publishing sector, owning CreateSpace also.
Amazon as a publisher is something that has been on the edges for a while, at least in terms of facilitating self publishing.
But lately Amazon have been branching out and expanding into more traditional publishing methods, hitting headlines when they started to sign authors directly, including, but not limited to, Penny Marshall (who’s deal was reportedly worth a cool half a million), Guru Deepak Chopra and former self publishing advocate Barry Eisler- who memorably turned down a $500,000 deal with St Martin’s Press to self publish, before signing the deal with Amazon.
Other authors have been more reluctant. Despite making a name for herself via the KDP, Amanda Hocking turned down Amazon’s offer in favour of St Martin’s Press, despite insiders stating that Amazon were the highest bidders. You can read about it here http://tinyurl.com/3vx9ehz
But here’s the big question that’s been on my mind for a while – what does this mean in terms of availability?
For example, are bookstores going to carry Amazon titles? Given that Amazon are the competition? And if so is it going to financially worth it?
It could be suggested that stores will stock the books that people want, but will they? I’m put in mind of some of the Tesco incidents where they demanded, and got, exclusivity on some titles. Perhaps Amazon won’t want those writers to be stocked by the competition?
But choosing to sign with Amazon and being part of a buyover are quite different.
Buy overs can be a time of frustration and uncertainty for the writer, with book schedules being changed and that worry that you might find yourself dropped altogether.
For Marshall Cavendish the question of availability of books perhaps isn’t so extreme, given that the majority of their sales are direct sales to schools and libraries, and so the issue of availability won’t effect them as much as it would another press who relies on instore presence.
With several imprints and over 100 authors, Amazon are set to have a busy year, and the eyes of the entire publishing industry will be watching to see what happens next.