Amazon will publish 122 books this fall

by Warren Whitlock

Read the full story at the New York Times

Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers.

It has set up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran, Laurence Kirshbaum, to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction. It signed its first deal with the self-help author Tim Ferriss. Last week it announced a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it paid $800,000, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said.

Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.

Several large publishers declined to speak on the record about Amazon’s efforts. “Publishers are terrified and don’t know what to do,” said Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House, who is known for speaking his mind.

“Everyone’s afraid of Amazon,” said Richard Curtis, a longtime agent who is also an e-book publisher. “If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out.

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Paul Steinbrueck October 18, 2011

That’s a pretty savvy move by Amazon if you ask me. They can position the books they publish on Amazon in ways that will give them an advantage over other publishers’s books. That will help them generate more sales, and the sales advantage will likely help them woo big authors from other publishing houses.

Warren Whitlock October 19, 2011

There were lines drawn to tell people in the channel how to behave. Amazon hasn’t been drawing inside the lines since they started. They did “get along” for a while and didn’t publish books. Seems natural to me

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