Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Amazon and B&N Continue to Redefine Their Roles

It is clear that the publishing marketplace is going through radical changes with new entrants, the rise of author power and existing players all scrambling for a place in this new world order.

Today ‘Pubit’ was announced by US Barnes & Noble. ‘Pubit’ provides independent publishers and self-publishing authors with the opportunity to distribute their digital titles through Barnes & and the Barnes & Noble eBookstore. They claim to have yet another ‘simple and competitive’ royalty model and compensation process. The content will be in epub format and rendered with Adobe’s DRM protection and onto many computing, mobile and eBook reading devices.

So Barnes & Noble are going after the small publishers and self publishing market and follow the lead forged by the likes of Amazon. There is clear an opportunity to attract those many authors who feel disenfranchised by the traditional publishing and reward model. Resellers such as Amazon and B&N can offer higher rewards and access to an established channel.

Amazon also announced today a further step into the publishing territory with its new imprint AmazonCrossing. The imprint will offer English language translations of foreign language books. It’s a potentially smart move which offers clients both print and digital formats. The first title will be Tierno Monénembo's award-winning novel, "The King of Kahel," which was originally published in France in 2008 and was the winner of the French literary prize, the prix Renaudot. It will be released for the first time in English in November and begs the question why it was missed by others.

A global player, such as Amazon, is in a great position to pick out foreign winners, acquire the rights, translate the work and in doing so cut out the traditional publisher. They can promote it and offer it straight to market through multiple channels and to a very wide and diverse audience. Picking foreign winners is always difficult, but getting the readers to recommend them and then having the sales data to validate them is an interesting and logical twist.

For many authors, to be selected and promoted by Amazon to the English language global audience may be similar to winning a literary prize.

Whilst the publishing market cosies up to Apple and booksellers align to Google some resellers continue to redefine their role and relationships and refuse to be pigeon holed.

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