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A New Challenger in the Publishing Industry
October 18, 2011
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The boardroom tables at a lot of major book publishers are probably soaked in sweat today: Amazon, the online behemoth that changed the way people buy books, is getting into the business of publishing, and they just announced their first slate of titles. The company will release 122 books this fall in a bunch of genres, both as physical copies and e-books.

Industry analysts suspected an Amazon publishing arm was in the works when the company hired former publishing executive Larry Kirshbaum in May. With today's announcement, it's official: Amazon is going to put out its own books, as well as selling other publishers' products. And they're willing to spend money to get desirable authors - the company paid $800,000 for a memoir by actress and director Penny Marshall.

The book industry has something of a love-hate relationship with Amazon. While the company helped open up a new arena for people to discover and buy books, it did so at the expense of many independent bookstores. Canadian booksellers protested Amazon's plans (which eventually went ahead) to create a distribution centre here last year, claiming that having Amazon on Canadian soil would "detrimentally affect independent businesses and would raise serious concerns over the protection of our cultural industries." With this new announcement, publishers probably know exactly how Canadian booksellers feel...


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