Is Amazon Buying Simon and Schuster?

dealHere is something I don’t think many people saw coming. The internet is abuzz with rumors that Amazon is in negotiations to buy big ink publisher Simon and Schuster. The internet is always abuzz with something, and I don’t know whether this is real or not. It may be a stratagem aimed at scaring Hachette off the fence in its negotiations with Amazon. But Passive Guy is also reporting it, so maybe there is something there after all.

Kozlowski (link above) reports:

The publishing industry could be turned onto its head with a recent revelation that Amazon is in talks to purchase big 5 publisher Simon and Schuster. If the deal were to get done, this would give Amazon major distribution to physical bookstores under their own imprint and change the publishing world forever.

Notwithstanding that everything that happens seems to threaten to change the publishing world forever, this does conjure up some pretty dramatic images.

As always, Amazon is not talking. My favorite part of any article about Amazon is always at the end of the article: A spokesperson for Amazon refused to comment. Seriously? I think maybe Amazon is using the title “spokesperson” incorrectly. It would make more sense if they changed the person’s title to stonewaller. A stonewaller for Amazon refused to comment. There. That makes sense.

Anyway, if Amazon really did buy its own big fat pet publisher, that could represent some major upheaval. Will the Bezoids still love indies if they have their own big brand to push? What about Apple? Will Apple respond in kind, scooping up Hachette? Will Random Penguin scramble to buy Barnes & Noble to squeeze its competitors out of the brick and mortar markets? Will Yahoo respond by buying up DC Comics?

Fun times. What are your predictions?

NewsBites: Looking for the Union Label?

NewsBitesIt is time once again for Indies Unlimited to carry out its charge as the champion of truth, the vanquisher of deceit, and the taster of all things bacon. Yes, the NewsBites team of investigative journalists never rests until an opportunity presents itself. No matter how high those mountains, how deep those raging seas, or how hungry those hippos, we will keep more or less steadfastly to our quest to bring you somewhat reliable infotainment. Remember, if you’re not completely satisfied, you can fully refund our money.

And now, here is some news-type stuff we scrounged up and snarked all over: Continue reading “NewsBites: Looking for the Union Label?”

The Paralysis of Perfectionism

Ahhh… perfection!

What I have to say here is going to be very unpopular with a few folks in the indie community. It will offend those who say, Don’t settle for less than the very best. Spend as much money as it takes for editing, cover design, formatting. Your book deserves your utmost effort.

In truth, the perfect is the enemy of the good. If you live in dread of a reviewer pointing out an errant comma, you will never hit the publish button.

I’m not suggesting that you should publish an unproofed first draft. What I am saying is that indies operate in a different and more dynamic publishing environment than traditional publishers. Continue reading “The Paralysis of Perfectionism”

NewsBites: The Turmoil Continues

NewsBitesDeep in the dank, dark, steamy recesses of the internet, somewhere between stories about the latest celebrity antics and pictures of cute kittens, is the stuff that matters – the stuff we call news.

News started out as an acronym for Not Especially Well Scrutinized, and we hold fast to that proud tradition here at Indies Unlimited, bringing you the very finest news we could scrounge up on short notice.

Remember, there may be a test later, so here is some stuff you might want to know:

A lot of people are excited at the news that Writer’s Digest and Author Solutions have parted ways. Though what happens behind the corporate veil stays behind the corporate veil, I am less sanguine than some that this means Writer’s Digest suddenly saw the light. The reputation of Author Solutions was there to see (for anyone who cared to look) long before this unholy union took place. That did not deter WD or Random Penguin from partnership with them.

Random Penguin Solutions may have other problems, though. Big Ink, whose motto is We’re not dead yet, posted pretty flat book sales figures with declines in a number of key areas. Looks like textbooks are propping up the crumbling walls of the ink empire. What’s going to happen when the academic world goes digital?

In the meantime, the standoff between Amazon and Hachette continues, with Hachette continuing to argue from the morally superior position that Amazon should just pay them whatever Hachette says and never mind the profit margins. Here is a play in five parts that nicely sums up the conflict between Amazon and Big Ink publishing. You don’t want to miss that one.

Other people suspect Bezos is the villain in the whole affair, going so far as to speculate Amazon is going to chop the 70% royalty rate it currently pays. Even if that were true, the 35% royalty rate is still twice what most trad publishers pay. Whether Amazon pulls the trigger on that idea or not, supporting dinosaur publishers hardly seems the correct play.

That’s it for this edition of NewsBites. Join us next time, when we answer the question: Are the penguins really as random as they seem, or is there a pattern?