Amateur hour is over – Amazon becomes a publisher

This year is just burgeoning with disruptive change for the publishing industry, and here’s the latest cat among the pigeons: Amazon have decided that they can do more than just distribute books. They’re going to start republishing them as well.

Even great books can be overlooked. And authors with great potential often struggle to connect with the larger audience they deserve to reach. We’re fortunate at to have customers who know a good book when they read one, so we’ve introduced AmazonEncore to help connect authors and their books with more readers.

AmazonEncore is a new program whereby Amazon will use information such as customer reviews on to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors with more potential than their sales may indicate. Amazon will then partner with the authors to re-introduce their books to readers through marketing support and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store,, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers.

How successful this will turn out to be, I have no idea. Knowing how prevalent spurious reviews can be on Amazon – particularly on self-published works of dubious merit – I’m curious to discover what sort of vetting process they’ll go through before actually deciding to push a title out of obscurity and into the spotlight. Perhaps they’ll give Harriet Klausner the editorial hotseat…

[Via George Walkley, marketing and digital strategist for Little, Brown Books here in the UK.]

2 thoughts on “Amateur hour is over – Amazon becomes a publisher”

  1. Amazon has a huge leg up–they know what out-of-print books are selling for in the used-book market.

    Take, for example, one book that I know a bit about: Possum Living. I recommended it (and included an affiliate link) in a blog post that ended up getting Dugg. Through the affiliate reports, I’ve been able to see the price of that book climb from $11 to $75. Amazon has that information not for just one book but for all of them. (They also know how many people searched for a copy of the book, got as far as seeing what the price would be, and then didn’t buy a copy.)

    I expect that information is going to turn out to be at least as useful as reviews.

  2. Bear in mind, also, that Amazon is more than half the size of the *total* US publishing industry in terms of sales–this is a huge move, no matter how much Amazon downplays it.

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