Better Keep That to Yourself They’re those taboo topics we know well enough to keep carefully removed from conversation if we harbor any intent of keeping things polite. You know what I’m referring to, those subjects that incite the variety of passion likely to turn explosive
homicidal dare anyone light the fuse. Yep, that’s right, Religion and Politics. And, oh yeah, now there’s Amazon.
Word on the Street Lately it seems they are popping up like dandelions on a lush lawn; magazine articles, blog posts, FB, Twitter, tales and opinions of impending collision. Amazon against the Publishing Universe. Depending on the source, Amazon is either under attack, or, ON the attack?
It’s War … Really? Regardless of where any of us might hang on the chain–writer, agent, editor, publisher– we either have strong feelings regarding all this hoopla, or are currently developing them, because it’s a pretty big pot of stew that’s simmering to a boil. And there’s every reason to believe that at some point, we’ll need to pick up our pages and take sides.
Amazon vs Traditional Publishers Amazon has leveled the field and it’s exciting, yet worrisome — thrilling, yet spooky. It’s Amazon vs the Big Six, and I’m not yet clear as to whether I should be buying ringside tickets or covering my eyes to protect them from the flying shrapnel of Brick and Mortar bookstores being blown out of the future and into the distant past.
Proceed with Caution I readily admit to being relatively cautious
paranoid when it comes to change, and the native New Yorker inherent in my psyche makes me wary of anything that looks TOO GOOD. I have been naive a clueless sucker a few times too many, so I’ve learned to proceed with baby steps, regardless of how delightfully wonderful the package might appear. Sure it might look and smell good, but that’s no guarantee it will taste good once you finally take a bite. The point being, that for many of us, Amazon has been the oasis in an otherwise harsh publishing desert–and yet, is it really?
A Courtship of Sorts From the perspective of the part of me that is an “I LOVE AMAZON” book buyer, I’m sort’ve interested in the drama, but not as much as I love buying books at discounts with the potential of free shipping. Yet on the flip side, is the author me with a book listed on Amazon, all of which means that I’m hanging on the edge of my seat, watching these two massive locomotives hurtling toward … well, toward something. And regardless what happens, I’m pretty certain that someone’s getting hurt.
People have asked my opinion, and I do have one. But it’s an opinion that continues to waver just enough to keep me from cementing it in place. And not because my reasoning is especially deep or thoughtful. In fact it might be something you’d hear on any Kindergarten playground, because the truth, quite frankly, is that my loyalties currently reside with the one who’s played nicest and been fairest from the time I first showed up on the playground. Which is to say that Amazon has been kind to me. Very kind. Far more welcoming and supportive than the Indies, bookstore chains, or Big Six publishers. And I take that personally. It’s impossible not to. They not only invited me to the party, they even sent a limo to pick me up.
Deep, heavy-hitting, thought provoking assessment? Nah, not really. But I can’t help myself. When it comes to matters of the heart, I respond to care and feeding just like any other zoo animal. Feed me, pat me on the head, offer me a cold drink on a hot day, and it’s pretty much certain I’m not about to bite in return.
Nevertheless, My Eyes are Open, and I Have an Ear Against the Door Being appreciative doesn’t mean I don’t keep a watchful eye, read up on the latest, and stay awake to avoid potential injury. Good today, doesn’t guarantee good tomorrow. I’m optimistic, but not necessarily foolish
a flaming idiot.
EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT And for you, on the chance you missed any of these provocative posts, I pass along links, links, wonderful informative links, gathered here for your dining-on-Amazon pleasure. Read, enjoy, keep a heads up, on the chance you find yourself trapped in the crossfire.
Kristen Lamb has two recent posts well worth checking out: Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts and Bracing for Impact — The Future of Big Publishing in the New Paradigm
Sarah Lacy: Confessions of a Publisher: “We’re in Amazon’s Sights and They’re Going to Kill Us”
Julie Bosman, The New York Times: Worried Publishers put Hopes on Barnes & Noble
From Joe Konrath; Amazon Will Destroy You
And you? Are you worried? Do you care? Much ado about nothing? Or are your thoughts leaning toward “Battle Stations Ready …?”