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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Disagreeing with Publisher's Weekly on Bezos' Most Recent Click on the "Buy" Button

It's only a few hours after the face and we all probably know that Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) bought The Washington Post for 250 million.  Publishers Weekly weighed in on how Bezos might use the post to benefit and Amazon--and, by extension--book sales. I was personally most interested in their take on how their book review policies might change--or not.  
Here's the PW take on it: "… Amazon has become more aggressive about buying content and the creation of a relationship between Post columnists and reporters with Amazon Publishing is one possible move as is using the archives of the Post to create new print and digital offerings. (The Post already has a deal with Diversion Books for e-book originals). Bundling content exclusively for sale through Amazon is considered another possibility. Like most all newspapers, the Post drastically reduced its book review coverage several years ago, but upping the number of reviews is not seen as a priority."
The last part is discouraging, but I wouldn't bet on it. Further, I think that review policy may be made more egalitarian—that is they may be more inclusive of releases from indie publishers and individual authors.
What do you think?   

  Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor


  1. I suppose we shall see. I'm just glad Bezos bought it and not Murdoch or the Koch Brothers. :)

  2. The old guard at the Post like many traditional print newspapers has resisted the changes sweeping the media marketplace. It is an old story - the railroads failed to see that their PRODUCT was transportation, not rights of way and rail cars, and became a minor player in the market. IBM failed to see the changes in computing and lost their dominant position, relegated to the role of systems integrator (not a bad move for them, finally) just like Microsoft is moving toward. Neither company understood that therir actual product was not software or hardware licenses, but enabling inforamtion exchange.

    Likewise, it take a visionary like a Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos to sieze the moment of change in a major marketplace. The old guard may likely go the way of the dodo - but it is their own shortcomings that doom them. Opening media channels is good for our business - just how the form will shape up will be fun to watch - and exploit.

  3. Amazon has enabled thousands of indie authors, me included, to self-publish when the traditional publishing companies wouldn't look at us. I don't claim to have a crystal ball, but after following Amazon since its beginning, I tend to agree with you that we may expect beneficial changes at WaPo.

  4. I agree, L. W. I remember when people said that radio was dead. Because TV was so amazing. It took visionaries to understand the possibilities. And, Holly! Yes. We need diversity in the media. The US does have some laws to help keep monopolies from discouraging competition, but it doesn't seem as if they are exercised enough--especially when it comes to our free press. And Carol, I do indeed hope that Bezos continues to use his power and money to better the publishing industry and the media. It seems he must if he's investing his own money in it.


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