Last year Amazon spent a lot of time throwing its weight around, trying to squash and curtail the activities of smaller publishers and booksellers on its site. But just last week, they have shown that they are capable of listening and working with consumers… when they see a threat to there own product line anyway.
The new Kindle has a text-to-speech feature which allows a reader to become listener as an automaton voice recites the text, which didn’t seem like a big deal to me. But agents and lawyers saw it differently, claiming it infringes on their ability to sell rights to the book for the audio-book format. At first, Amazon said ‘no’. But evidently they have had a chnage of heart and will give publishers the chance to opt-in/out to this feature. Which is really how things should be done, across the board these days. It’s 2009 and there is no reason why a content owner shouldn’t be given a choice of how their content will be made available.
I’m not much of a fan of the K2. It seems to be the device they should have put out there as the first one. And maybe they agree? The rumor mill is already cranking out “Kindle 3 by the end of the year” stories and some look to have merit. Which if they are truw, will put the Kindle in a place to remain competitive.
Here is a great article outlining the landscape of bookstores around Northwestern University. No punches were pulled and nothing is overly romanticized. Evanston, being a college town, seems to be a microcosm of all the trends we’re seeing nationally.
At any given time you are probably only one mouse-click away from someone online bemoaning the downward spiral that independant bookstores are caught in. It seems that most of them simply want to vent the romanticism of small local book shops. Which I get. Perusing local bookshops makes me about as happy as I can be. But there are realities and the change that goes with those realities.
And the reality is, that there was an ad for an Amazon coupon flashing on the website as I was reading this article featuring quotes and interviews with local booksellers. So even when they are in the spotlight, Amazon is blinking in the sidebar.
So I hope more people will take time to simply say “here is the current situation” and then start developing ways to help local shops maintain their rightful place as local anchors. And I do wish I can visit Carlson’s Bookman’s Alley someday.
Now, I’m no Alvin Lustig or Paul Rand, but does anyone at Amazon REALLY think these are the “10 Best Covers of 2008” in all of the tens of thousands of books that were printed this year? Really?
I mean, there were some GORGEOUS covers done this year. Maybe Amazon’s editors just let some random number generator pick these. Even with the Chip Kidd cover included, this list is just weird, at best. Feel free to disagree and if you do, please explain why. I just don’t get it.
Religious publisher Thomas Nelson has amassed a list of select titles and will send review copies to bloggerswho agree to post a 200-word review on their blog and and 200-word review on Amazon. The company’s CEO has been an active blogger and tweeter for some time. So he seems to really get the power of the medium and the tools that his marketing department can use.I know a lot of publishers are active in social media, but do you know of any other houses that have an official program like this in place? Obviously, they can’t fill every request, but it’s a neat idea. Kind of like LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program, but they just don’t have to go through LT.