Make a Pop-Up Submission NOW – Track updates on Twitter

The Great Amazon Debate

To boldly colonise the entire infrastructure of consumption

In 1994, Jeffrey Preston Bezos left his Wall Street job to found an internet based company in his garage. The ‘bookseller’ known as Amazon sold its first book one year later.  Amazon may have marketed itself as “the world’s largest bookstore”, but its logo–an arrow leading from A to Z–was a clear indicator that its goal was to sell every product on the planet.  It is now a $50bn business.

According to the Financial Times this week, Bezos’ not so secret plan is to “colonise the entire infrastructure of consumption”. To borrow from George Orwell, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine Jeff Bezos face, and his big wide smile.”  Yikes!

Amazon is the subject of the ‘great debate’ on The Naked Book this week, with Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson, publishing consultant Sheila Bounford, Rob Nichols of independent UK publisher Constable & Robinson, and Financial Times journalist Barney Jopson throwing the rotten fruit.

Jopson has been writing about Amazon all week for the Financial Times, and he explained that it was not now just an e-commerce platform, but had evolved into “an infrastructure services company”.

Not evil, then? That wasn’t the view of Johnson who accused Bezos of devaluing “the book”, using prices points like $9.99 or $1.99 as stakes through the print-based heart of the book.  “That’s the worst thing I think it’s done to the culture.”

But for Nichols, what Amazon has done well is sell books: lots of them. “We’ve been able to unlock our backlist.” And of course there are those e-book sales, up 600% at Constable & Robinson. For Bounford, Amazon has shown how to behave in a digital world, something publishers can use and learn from.

“I don’t want them to go away,” admitted Johnson, whose own buy-buttons on Amazon have been restored after a recent contretemps, “I just wish they’d behave!”

Hosted by Philip Jones, with Sam Missingham serving the beer.

Whatever next?  Tune in in two weeks’ time to find out!  Click here to pop it in your diary!

Also in this series

Child’s Play

Selling ebooks to kiddies is anything but...

Tête à tête with Faber’s Stephen Page

The illuminati of the book business

There’s A Hole In My Sock Puppet

Sock puppets of the world look on

In The Land Of The E, The Glassy-Eyed Are King

Amazon is a huge shark, threatening everyone

The E-Book In The Library

It's the debate that is well overdue

The Broadcast Takeover

The writer's platform has to grow in as many ways as possible

Face The Bafflement And Do It Anyway

Bafflement is the new norm
Benjamin Button?

Hang On A Minute That’s My Work You Are Talking About

When will the real world catch up with the internet ?

Something Innovative This Way Comes

Drinking is not mandatory. Ambition is.

The Porn Supremacy

Four pence in every pound spent on book last week went on 50SoG
Shiny, Happy, Publishing People

Shiny, Happy, Publishing People

There Are Happy Beautiful People Working In Publishing, Too

Bringing Up Baby

Launching a web-world is like giving birth

Digital Rights Moratorium (or How We Learned To Mom-Proof E-Books)

You cannot prove that the pirate is a bona fide customer