Publishers make commendable but not huge margins on sales, but their ability to do so in the future will entirely dictate how many authors they can afford to invest in. Weaken publishers, and it is authors who suffer. Weaken publishers enough, and authors will jump ship to Amazon’s KDP platform, created entirely by Amazon to satisfy its own content needs.

–Philip Jones ties some threads.

For those of you who are playing along at home, this is what the strategy looks like:

  1. Become the biggest player in one sector (bookselling), then leverage that to take over another (ebooks).
  2. Invest in technologies (ebooks, POD) that allow content producers (authors) to bypass traditional channels to market (publishing houses, non-POD printing presses, physical bookstores).
  3. Leverage market position to weaken (or outright destroy) said traditional channels.
  4. Use a combination of #2 and #3 to entice–or force–content producers to leverage your services directly.
  5. Profit!

Basically, instead of Amazon having to come to the table every n months to re-negotiate contractual terms on distribution, profits, or whatever with entities similar in size/clout/legal departments to themselves (i.e. publishers), they get to throw take-it-or-leave-it “contracts” at a scattered, unrepresented diaspora of individuals. Contracts Amazon can, I’ll note, change at will.

(Anyone spluttering something along the lines of “but-but-but traditional publishing!!!”? Please, let me show you the red pen left by my agent’s lawyer. I will bet my advance on it being more than any selfpubbed author ever got out of Amazon.)

As a business strategy, it’s fantastic. For Amazon, that is.

For everyone else?

Yeah. Not so sure about that one, hey.