Amazon prides itself on unraveling the established order. This fall, signs of Amazon-inspired disruption are everywhere.There is the slow-motion crackup of electronics showroom Best Buy. There is Amazon’s rumored entry into the wine business, which is already agitating competitors. And there is the merger of Random House and Penguin, an effort to create a mega-publisher sufficiently hefty to negotiate with the retailer on equal terms.Amazon inspires anxiety just about everywhere, but its publishing arm is getting pushback from all sorts of booksellers.
Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers. 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.
No doubt you’ve heard that Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group USA and Hachette Book Group have agreed to create a shared website, to be called Bookish.com. They will provide start-up financing, but … at least 14 publishers will participate. … My first reaction was that this really speaks to that whiff of desperation in the air for publishers.