Amazon Publishing turns 10

This week, Amazon Publishing celebrates a decade in existence.

I remember when Amazon starts this endeavor, and how Big Publishing simultaneously looked down their collective nose and quaked in their collective boots. At that time, Amazon already controlled the lion’s share of the market. The company released the Kindle in 2007. After owning the marketshare, starting to own the medium on which books would be read, the company logically went after the third leg of the tripod — content.

The first book published by Amazon’s imprint was was Cayla Kluver’s Legacy, released in August 2009. That book did not go on to be a big blockbuster for the company, but several others did, including Mark Sullivan’s Beneath a Scarlet Sky and Blake Crouch’s Pines

Amazon figured out — far ahead of other publishers — that controlling the data of book buyers was the key to generation repeat sales.. If you know what people like to read, and you can tailor what books they see when they log onto your site, you can make suggestions that your readers might like. If they do like those suggestions, they keep coming back for more. Even to this day, this is not a model that Big Publishing is capable of matching. 

In the world of books, Amazon is king.

The company has so much data that when they now release a book, they can throw a couple of Wizard Behind the Curtain levers and boom, that book sells thousands — if not hundreds — of copies. 

Amazon’s dominance of the publishing world has not peaked. Far from it. They will continue to grow. As they gobble up big name writers — they just gave Sylvia Day a seven-figure advance for a novella, a 203-page book — they will further marginalize small publishers and even the Big Five. Amazon has deep coffers that the company has barely begun to tap.

Sorry, publishing world, it’s all over but the crying. By Amazon Publishing’s 20th anniversary, they might be the only Big left standing.


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