Promoting local public libraries since fifteen years, and running a great website, PublicLibraries http://www.publiclibraries.com/ reported about Amazon’s withdrawal from becoming a big trade publisher: “Amazon is toning down its plans to become a full scale publisher. The retreat from publishing appears to be a result of black listing of author’s signed with Amazon by brick and mortar book retailers.”
Opposition from Bookstores
“Amazon has struggled to gain traction for its publishing division. It appears that Amazon underestimated the amount of opposition that it would experience from the traditional publishing and book retailing world. Major book retailer Barnes & Noble refused to carry any of the titles published by Amazon. Amazon has also had trouble attracting major authors to its division.”
Disappointing Results and a Scandal
“Authors that have signed with Amazon have experienced disappointing results. Amazon’s first big title, Penny Marshall’s My Mother Was Nuts, performed poorly in print sales. This was largely due to the fact that brick and mortar books refused to carry the Amazon title. Even the eBook edition was effectively blocked outside of the Amazon marketplace as Google, Barnes & Noble Nook Store and Apple iBookstore all refused to distribute the digital version.”
Industry Newsletter Shelf Awareness also said that “In connection with [Kirshbaum’s] departure, the most ambitious part of Amazon’s publishing operations will be scaled back. Already several editorial people have left or been let go, and Amazon has not been a factor in bidding on major books the way it had been just two years ago.”
Wallstreet Journal Online wrote: “In quick succession, Mr. Kirshbaum signed up a number of well-known writers and personalities, among them actress and director Penny Marshall and best-selling writer Timothy Ferriss. The signings worried rival publishers who were concerned that Amazon’s deep coffers would enable it to pluck many of the book industry’s biggest stars. In January 2012, Mr. Kirshbaum’s efforts were effectively checkmated when rival bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. said it wouldn’t put titles published by Amazon on its shelves. A number of other retailers followed suit, making Amazon a less attractive alternative for many writers and their agents. The big-name signings stopped…”
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