Amazon POD: Friend or Foe to Indie Publishers?

An interesting editorial by Lloyd Jassin from the NY Center for Independent Publishing relating to the Amazon print-on-demand (POD) move:

Physical distribution of books is largely the preserve of large conglomerate publishers and a handful of large independent distributors. It’s not a pretty business. It employs the equivalent of Yankee peddlers who hand-sell books to brick and mortar stores, with full return privileges for oversold books. If we extrapolate, the BookSurge gambit may be seen as a relatively painless first step in managing the digital distribution of titles to e-tailers and licensees. Amazon has the amazing ability to manage and organize content. It also offers a painless online experience for the consumer.

Instead of Amazon merely being the recipient of digital assets, it’s easy to imagine Amazon providing comprehensive consultancy services to our members, helping them prepare their content for digital distribution for and beyond the traditional Amazon platform. Is the Book Surge gambit a disguised opportunity for indie publishers? Perhaps. Indie publishes are the small furry mammals scurrying around the legs of large dinosaur publishers. The digital meteor has hit. To survive, indie publishers need to be able to present content in a variety of digital formats. Is Amazon a friend or a foe? Only time will tell.

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