Amazon strikes again. The e-commerce giant has purchased the online community for booklovers Goodreads, which doubled in size in 2012. With Goodreads’
13 16 million passionate members now part of Amazon’s extended customer file, publishers and bookstores are even more compromised in the fight to mitigate the online giant’s size and sizeable budget advantage.
It remains to be seen how Goodreads will/won’t change; and more importantly, how writers will be impacted by Amazon’s virtual monopoly of online book discovery now. So far, Amazon has been stealth about trying to woo writers (and their agents) away from traditional publishers.
Amazon has selectively increased transparency of book sales via author dashboards, forcing publishers to do the same. Recently, Amazon announced they would start paying authors signed to Amazon Publishing royalties on a monthly basis, versus the bi-annual schedule traditional publishers adhere to. They also regularly share business announcements with a list of authors and agents, bypassing publishers.
We shall see how publishers respond to this bit of news — and how Barnes and Noble deals with it. B&N has been particularly salty over the last few months, dealing with bad sales, store closings, and perceived lack of support from publishers by throwing their own heft around. They have reduced orders of Simon and Schuster titles and refused to carry books released under the Amazon Publishing imprint.