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Miscellaneous Book Talk > Is Amazon Taking Over the Book Business?

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message 1: by Carol/Bonadie (last edited Jun 14, 2009 09:13AM) (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8309 comments Interesting article on on Amazon and how it may be influencing the book publishing world. You Kindle owners will be pleased to know that Amazon is lobbying to reduce the cost of Kindle titles, but the publishers for now aren't buying it.

Also, for you authors, an interesting factoid from the article; the number of self published books now exceed books published by conventional methods.

P.S. They now have a new Kindle released last week -- the DX - that is bigger, and offers 2.5x the screen space. Pricier too, $490.

message 2: by Gail/Ladyvolz (new)

Gail/Ladyvolz Bowman (ladyvolz) | 343 comments

Read J. A. Konrath's article about publishing his works on kindle. Very interesting. But I must admit he really goes all out to promote his self published books. He posts in the kindle forum at Amazon and on various kindle boards. So does that Stacey Cochran who has posed in the blogs comment section.

As for the new kindle DX, it's geared more to people who want to read books that have drawings, numbers, charts, graphs, pictures or newspapers. Also to those who want to send items they have in pdf format to the kindle. It supposedly does a better pdf conversion than the K1 or K2. Also geared to students with Amazon working with text book publishers to digitize text books. I believe Amazon has a pilot program going with 6 Universities across the country.

While all I want to do is read, this pdf thing is a big deal to a lot of people. I have been really surprized at the comments by people who are sending all sorts of documents in pdf to the kindle for use. Oh and the kindle DX also goes from portrait to landscape like the iPhone if you turn it.

message 3: by Dan in AZ (new)

Dan in AZ | 2727 comments There's another competitive service out there called "Scribs." It won't work on the Kindle, but it works on the Sony Bookreader and IPhones. There was an article a couple days ago in the Wall Street Journal, and the main point seemed to be that there's a lot of discontent over the $9.95 pricing. Apparently Scribs is part of (?) Simon & Schuster and prices closer to normal hardbound release prices - good for authors, bad for readers.

message 4: by Tom (new)

Tom (tommyro) Amazon take over the book business? I'll be the last hold out.

I will never ever buy another book or movie or anything from Amazon because of its Kindle and because of its growing control of our intellectual property.

Long live the printed word. It really makes me nervous the way they are digitizing printed books and owning the digitized rights - they will eventually own our culture.

Too much power - and too many ideas - concentrated in a few hands is a very bad thing in a free society.

Rebel against Amazon. Don't read books on line.

I buy all my books from either a used bookstore or from - which doesn't charge tax or shipping/handling charges - and all their books are discounted - unlike full-price Amazon.

message 5: by Dan in AZ (new)

Dan in AZ | 2727 comments Long live the printed word. It really makes me nervous the way they are digitizing printed books and owning the digitized rights - they will eventually own our culture.

The author retains all rights to their work and can withdraw the Kindalized (how's that for a word) version at any time. At least that's how my agreement read.

message 6: by Tom (last edited Jun 14, 2009 04:09PM) (new)

Tom (tommyro) Daniel wrote: "Long live the printed word. It really makes me nervous the way they are digitizing printed books and owning the digitized rights - they will eventually own our culture.

The author retains all r..."

Thank you for that clarification regarding living authors, which I hope you will remain for many many productive years to come.

Question: What happens when your copyright expires? Either during your life or when your estate/heirs have it?

Amazon still has a digitized copy?

And what about books where the copyright has expired? Like all of our collective classics. If publishers don't print them, who controls them?

Right now at least 5 different publishers that I can count publish Thomas Hardy. What happens to our classics when we go totally digital in our reading, the way we are in other forms of mass communications?

I realized this when I found out that Amazon is digitizing lesser known works of one of my favorite mystery writers, David Goodis. The copyright's expired and Amazon is scooping up and digitizing the out of print books. They own the digitalization, which means they own the book.

I wonder if we've fully considered all of the ramifications of this new technology.

message 7: by Dan in AZ (new)

Dan in AZ | 2727 comments I agree that this process has come on quickly and without many controls (like so much of the new technology); but when you consider that the big box stores have been dictating significant changes in paper book publishing, I guess this is just another problem we'll all have to deal with.

Specifically, if Amazon Kindalizes a book that is out of copyright, I suppose it "owns" that specific right, but anyone else can still choose to republish the book in any other form (even a different digitalized version I would think).

message 8: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 3137 comments I just worry that Amazon is pursuing a vertical and horizontal monopoly that nobody will be inclusive enough to fight. The losers will be us, as Amazon (like every vendor) seeks to remove our money from us.

message 9: by Gail/Ladyvolz (new)

Gail/Ladyvolz Bowman (ladyvolz) | 343 comments here is information if you are interested on copyrights.

"Welcome to the initial release of Stanford's Copyright Renewal Database. This database makes searchable the copyright renewal records received by the US Copyright Office between 1950 and 1992 for books published in the US between 1923 and 1963. Note that the database includes ONLY US Class A (book) renewals.

The period from 1923-1963 is of special interest for US copyrights, as works published after January 1, 1964 had their copyrights automatically renewed by statute, and works published before 1923 have generally fallen into the public domain. Between those dates, a renewal registration was required to prevent the expiration of copyright, however determining whether a work's registration has been renewed is a challenge. Renewals received by the Copyright Office after 1977 are searchable in an online database, but renewals received between 1950 and 1977 were announced and distributed only in a semi-annual print publication. The Copyright Office does not have a machine-searchable source for this renewal information, and the only public access is through the card catalog in their DC offices.

In order to make these renewal records more accessible, Stanford has created this searchable database. Building on the work done by Project Gutenberg to transcribe the 1950-1977 renewals, and on early conversion efforts by Michael Lesk, we have converted the published renewal announcements to machine-readable form, and combined them with the renewals for later years made available on the Copyright Office's website. Note that this database covers only renewals, not original registrations, and is limited to books (Class A registrations) published in the US. Note that the Catalog of Copyright Entries, and therefore this database, does not include entries for assignments, and so cannot be used for searches involving the ownership of rights. Please also note that copyrights restored under Section 104(a) of the copyright act are not represented in this database.

Stanford has performed two rounds of testing in order to assess the accuracy of this database. In each round, we pulled a minimum of 500 book titles published in the US between 1923 and 1963 from the Stanford library catalog. The works were checked manually in the CCE, and, in the first round, a subset of 100 records was also sent to the Copyright Office to be checked by their in-house staff. Each of these items was then separately searched by project staff in the Copyright Renewals Database. In each round, the error rate for the database was found to be less than 1%, although in practice there is significant opportunity for user error or other problems in searching. Details of these issues can be found in Stanford's final report to Hewlett on the project ( PDF), and in the two search results sets ( Search Set #1, Search Set #2).

The full data set for the Copyright Renewals Database is available for download here. Stanford welcomes reuse of the data in other systems and search tools.

We welcome and encourage comments on the database. Please send comments to Mimi Calter at"

There are alot of books being kindilized by not only Amazon, but others as well. You can find several different publishers for Jane Austin's works available in kindle format. In fact any book published prior to 1923 can be re-published by anyone. Just check some of the publishers of these "public domain" works. I believe a copyright does not expire now until 70 years after the death of a writer.

message 10: by Ann (last edited Jun 21, 2009 08:21AM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 15088 comments Carol and Gail:
Thanks for the links to the articles and thanks to all who responded for the interesting perspectives. I "saved" this thread as new to read the articles later when I could think about the comments here and formulate a summation of my own thoughts.

I love holding a book, perusing bookshelves, and stacking them up to read someday. I enjoy the convenience of purchasing from Amazon, in large part because they have what I want when I want it which simply isn't always true from a local bookstore (chain) I use my library voraciously and am not paying a penny (except for my library fines) for the privilege outside of my taxes. I want books to be cost effective to buy as a consumer, and sustainable to keep publishing houses, editors, agents and most importantly authors making many more. I want a lot, and I know the rest of you do too.

I like that books are more accessible with electronic methods. I don't use an e-reader (yet) but I love being able to download audio books to a computer or electronic device. Audio books on CD are expensive to purchase (for me or my library) and I have been having less opportunity to listen to new releases or older title that "wore out" on cassette and are out of circulation.

I don't think we are long from a time when things that aren't available on an iphone or clone or Kindle or other e-reader device become less popular, and lets face it, we all win if books are topical and accessible so that lots of potential new and old readers are encouraged to read and to try new authors, those from a major publishing house, self published or other-wise and to have exposure to the classics.

The challenge IMHO is to keep exposing EVERYONE to the wonderful worlds the written word can open up in our imagination through whatever method keeps the commerce wheels turning and the books coming.

Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Interesting article on on Amazon and how it may be influencing the book publishing world. You Kindle owners will be pleased to know that Amazon is lobbying to reduce the cost of Kindle titles..."

Gail/Ladyvolz wrote: "
Read J. A. Konrath's article about publishing his works on kindle. Very interesting. But I must admit he really goes all out..."

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