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Amazon signing authors directly, cutting out the publisher

books

booksAfter years of turning the traditional brick-and-mortar bookstore business on its head, online retail giant Amazon is now taking aim at the publishing business by getting writers to ditch their publishers in favor of Amazon.

The company is scheduled to publish 122 books this fall in print and e-book form, according to a report from the New York Times. The move puts Amazon in more direct competition with some of its largest suppliers, like Penguin, Random House and MacMillan.

Amazon’s publishing arm isn’t just a side project either. The company hired publishing veteran Laurence Kirshbaum in May, and it paid actress/director Penny Marshall (of Laverne & Shirley fame) $800,000 for her memoir, according to the NYT report. Last week, the company even signed a book deal with self-help book guru Tim Ferris.

However, it’s unknown just how many editors the company employs or how many books it has under contract.

Amazon is able to sway authors to its cause because it’s becoming increasingly good at offering them the kinds of services typically offered by publishers, like access to fans, sales data, analytics and more.

Photo via Michael Coté