Somebody Gets It (Sort Of)

Frédéric Filloux in Monday Note focuses on ebooks as the “giant disruption.” Notes Filloux:

In less than a year, the ground has shifted in ways the players didn’t foresee. This caused the unraveling of the book publishing industry, disrupting key components of the food chain such as deal structures and distribution arrangements.

Filloux further identifies the “culprit” in this drama. Amazon.

Money quote:

For authors, the growth of e-publishing makes the business model increasingly attractive. Despite a dizzying price deflation (with ebooks selling for $2.99), higher volumes and higher royalty percentages change the game.

I think Filloux is being a little optimistic (proponents of giant disruptions invariably get carried away with themselves) — forgetting that while there is room for more “success stories” like Amanda Hocking, opening the stadium doesn’t mean everyone will turn into a Tom Brady. [Let’s not forget that Amanda Hocking opted for a traditional publisher once her success was established; it was too much work for her to do everything a publisher normally does. She wanted to focus on writing books.]

Filloux also forgets the promotional role traditional publishers play. Can Amazon get me on the talk shows? Will they? Do they even care?

Back in the day, Penguin got me on the Sally Jessy Raphael show to promote “Butcher, Baker.” It was a big deal. That kind of publicity is hard to buy.

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