Add Amazon to your list of major publishers
Many people think Amazon publishes everything it sells. They think Amazon chooses which books are published for the Kindle, how much the list price is for the book, and so on.
I see this quite a bit in the forum: “Why doesn’t Amazon publish Jurassic Park for the Kindle?”
That’s a simple misunderstanding.
I’ll also see people respond, “Amazon isn’t a publisher.”
That’s also incorrect.
I’m not talking about Kindle Direct Publishing. That’s more of a distribution platform.
I’ve written a number of times before about Amazon’s imprints, and that is straight up traditional publishing.
What’s the difference?
Well, one of the key things is that a traditionally published book is selected by editorial choice. The publisher chooses to publish that particular book (and may reject hundreds of others before they do).
The default with the KDP is to have it in the store if it doesn’t violate any guidelines.
When Amazon publishes a book through one of its imprints, the default is to not have the book in the store…unless they judge it is good and/or will make sales.
Amazon publishing a book cuts out the (other) traditional publishers.
In this week’s
the number three ranked book is
by Oliver Pötzsch.
The USA Today significantly misidentifies it as “…Self-published via Amazon Digital Services”.
That’s the same basic way they identify the other six books that came from Amazon on this list (like #15, The Mill River Recluse).
They are apparently confusing who published it with who is selling it.
In the case of The Hangman’s Daughter, it is published by
That’s the one of Amazon’s imprints that is dedicated to publishing English translations of books originally published in other languages.
As with its other imprints, Amazon is going slowly on this. There are currently thirty-two
How are they doing?
The least popular of the English language AmazonCrossing books that have already been published (I’m not counting pre-orders and Spanish language versions) is in about the top third of the Kindle store titles. Given all of the Kindle Direct Publishing books which may sell very few copies, that’s not necessarily great.
However, Hangman’s Daughter is #66 paid in the Kindle store.
If it’s #3 at the USA Today, why is it only #66 paid in the Kindle store? Well, for one thing, the Kindle store ranks are much more volatile…I think they change them once an hour instead of once a week.
While the fact that this was published slipped by the USA Today (and I don’t blame them for that), it seems to me to be very important. Just as there were doubts that Amazon could sell hardware before the Kindle, people have doubted Amazon’s ability to be a significant player as a publisher. One book does not a publisher make, but this is significant.
If Amazon’s genre imprints start doing well, authors (even famous ones) may consider more strongly going with Amazon as a publisher.
These books aren’t just published in e-books, by the way…Amazon does paper, too.
Certainly, this gives rising authors more negotiating power…it’s another player in the game.
What do you think? Am I overemphasizing this? Is it too soon to tell about Amazon as a publisher? Is this one just a fluke? Feel free to let me know.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.