Amazon.com, has launched a new self-publishing service called CreateSpace which will make it easier for all budding authors to be published. The new service does not charge any of the usual set-up fees to publish a book, and there are no minimum orders required. The author merely sets up the book, orders a proof copy and makes it available to all to buy. Will there be any hidden gems in this new slush-pile? There certainly will be a slush-pile and if there is a success story, who will own the rights and will these be transferable? The answers are not clear unless you can wade through the pages of Amazon and actually find the detail. We thank the Bookseller for pointing the service out, but unless they had given the link, finding the detail some would say was similar to trying to get out of a maze. In fact try it for yourself - it's certainly a challenge!
Ok the author can sell through their own web site. They can self promote the works and they may even be discovered but for every success the odds will be only a bit better than betting on the lottery.
So what’s in it for Amazon? The new CreateSpace Books on Demand service removes substantial economic barriers and makes it really easy for any author to self-publish and distribute them on Amazon.com. They certainly will compete with Lulu and the other self publisher sites but is that enough? Will it enrich the market? It may certainly make consumers appreciate some of the value publishers bring to shaping works, copy editing and proofing. It is said that we all have one good story inside all of us but expressing it in a way that captivates, enriches and engages is not something we can all do and even then often without a little help from a friendly editorial team.
However, Amazon offers 'expert staff that can guide you in independently publishing your work or establishing your publishing venture. Combining professional services, you can build a market for your book, create sales opportunities and control your book's trajectory while keeping your options open.' they offer ' a signature cover designed by one of our professional artists... professional editorial services available to have your manuscript reviewed for technical elements, such as grammar and punctuation or more thoroughly for both technical and stylistic elements in single or multiple editing rounds...Marketing copyeditors skilled in writing professional, eye-catching short descriptions, back-cover text, and author biographies can provide services essential to enhancing sales...Press release composition and targeted media distribution services are available and tailored to your specific book genre and region...coordination of merchandising services and other programs to increase your visibility on Amazon.com'
So is Amazon a publisher or a retailer or everything between the author and the consumer?