Lese-Tipp: „The New Yorker“ über das Buchmarkt-Duell Amazon vs. Apple

newyorker-logoEs ist zwar nicht nur ein Zweikampf – Amazon und Apple sind aber zweifelsohne zwei wichtige Akteure beim Wettstreit um den Buchmarkt der Zukunft. Bei The New Yorker ist ein interessanter und umfangreicher Beitrag erschienen, der diese Auseinandersetzung und die aktuellen Entwicklungen auf dem Buchmarkt ganz allgemein beleuchtet:

The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of books : The New Yorker

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For the time being, Apple’s entrance into the book market has given publishers a reprieve. A close associate of Bezos said, “Amazon was thinking of direct publishing—until the Apple thing happened. For now, it was enough of a threat that Amazon was forced to negotiate with publishers.”

Asked to describe her foremost concern, Carolyn Reidy, of Simon & Schuster, said, “In the digital world, it is possible for authors to publish without publishers. It is therefore incumbent on us to prove our worth to authors every day.” But publishers have been slow to take up new technologies that might help authors. Andrew Savikas, O’Reilly Media’s vice-president for digital initiatives, is shocked that publishers have done so little to create digital applications for their books. “Nothing is stopping publishers from putting apps for books on iPhones,” he said. “There are fifty million iPhones in the world. That’s a great customer base.” Budget-conscious publishers have also reduced the editing and marketing and other services they provide to authors, which has left a vacuum for others to fill. Author Solutions, a self-publishing company in Bloomington, Indiana, has ninety thousand client-authors. For books that attract commercial interest, the company has partnered with publishers like Harlequin to release them through traditional channels, but with more generous royalties.

Jane Friedman, who served as president and C.E.O. of HarperCollins, left in 2008 and established Open Road Integrated Media, an e-book venture. She plans to acquire electronic rights to backlists, sign up new authors (with fifty-per-cent profit-sharing), and form a self-publishing division. “The publishers are afraid of a retailer that can replace them,” Friedman said. “An author needs a publisher for nurturing, editing, distributing, and marketing. If the publishers are cutting back on marketing, which is the biggest complaint authors have, and Amazon stays at eighty per cent of the e-book market, why do you need the publisher?”

Publishers maintain that digital companies don’t understand the creative process of books. A major publisher said of Amazon, “They don’t know how authors think. It’s not in their DNA.” Neither Amazon, Apple, nor Google has experience in recruiting, nurturing, editing, and marketing writers. The acknowledgments pages of books are an efficiency expert’s nightmare; authors routinely thank editors and publishers for granting an extra year to complete a manuscript, for taking late-night phone calls, for the loan of a summer house. These kinds of gestures are unlikely to be welcomed in cultures built around engineering efficiencies.

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via: Boing Boing

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