Amazon’s Game of Monopoly

Okay, so back in May I facetiously wrote a post called, Amazon Seeks (Publishing) World Domination. It’s looking less like a joke every day.

Let’s recap. Amazon has six imprints: AmazonEncore (publishing overlooked books and authors), Amazon Crossing (publishing popular overseas titles for English-speaking markets), The Domino Project (publishing “Idea Manifestos” whatever that means), Montlake (publishing romance titles), Thomas & Mercer (publishing mysteries and thrillers), and 47North (publishing science fiction/fantasy/horror). They’ll be launching their seventh imprint next year, headed up by publishing veteran Larry Kirshbaum. They have also taken over Audible.com and forged a dubious book-rental partnership with Overdrive (dubious because it isn’t clear how authors will receive royalties on some of the rented titles). 

Their latest move? Acquiring more than 450 children’s titles from Marshall Cavendish. (Here’s a link to the New York Times article.) So not only are they causing unfair competition with bricks-and-mortar retailers by not charging sales tax in many states, they’re also competing directly with the very companies that helped establish them as a powerhouse company: publishers.

Amazon has many positives. Their website is easy to use and they’ve become the go-to site for finding information on books and authors, no matter how obscure. They’ve also been a great resource for self-publishers. But their growing dominance as a book seller AND publishing company will continue to impact this industry in many ways. And I’m not sure how much of that impact is positive.

What do you think?