Amazon is without doubt one of the largest online book stores in the world. People who once used local book shops to order and buy books are now using Amazon's online shop to do the same. It is in many regards a more comfortable but less direct experience.
A recent article in the New York Times suggests that Amazon is now moving straight towards an even bigger goal. The company announced that it will publish 122 books in the fall of 2011 in "both physical and e-book form".
According to the article Amazon is currently wooing top authors to publish their books directly on the shopping site. This puts publishers in a miserable position. They have to work with Amazon to sell books online but at the same time have to find a way to compete with the company as a publisher.
The move effectively eliminates the middle-men, the publishers and agents, and makes Amazon the jack of all trades. Amazon will do the editing, promoting, printing and selling. Regular Amazon users should not confuse Amazon Publishing with Amazon's self-publishing platform CreateSpace. The former is the new division of Amazon while the latter allows everyone to publish their books on Amazon.
Amazon as a company will obviously benefit from this model. But what about authors and people who buy books? It is difficulty to say when it comes to authors. Amazon has not published any information about the deals that it struck with authors. Will authors make more money? The ones that Amazon is wooing most certainly will. It is likely that authors will get a bigger part of the pie considering that Amazon has to convince them somehow that it is worth to self-publish books.
Consumers on the other hand will likely not see a big difference. Amazon on the other hand has more control and leeway in the pricing which could be beneficial to customers.
Considering that Amazon has not shops in all countries of the world, it is likely that the Internet giant may need to cooperate to bring books to countries they do not have a shop in.
What's your take on this? I personally think that this could shake things up quite a bit. Authors certainly find the option beneficial as it gives them more choice. Consumers on the other hand will likely be on the receiving end. Before Amazon Publishing they had the option to buy local or online. With Amazon Publishing, they can only buy on Amazon.