The Behemoth of bookselling seems unstoppable

Jane Friedman’s latest post on the growing reach of Amazon.

Amazon’s Importance to Book Sales Keeps Increasing—for Better or Worse

Posted on  by Jane Friedman

Today’s post draws from material previously published in The Hot Sheet, a paid subscription email newsletter that I write and publish every two weeks. This week, we celebrate five years of continuous publication. Get 30% off an annual subscription through September 28 using code 5YR at checkout. Your first two issues are free.

Since Hot Sheet started publishing in 2015, Amazon has changed, grown, and dominated more than any other company in the book publishing industry. While that’s not likely a surprise to anyone, here are the key developments that authors need to know about.

Amazon has pulled back on most of its writer-focused programs

Here’s a list of all the writer-focused programs Amazon has launched in the last decade; only one is still active.

  • Kindle SinglesThis program debuted in 2011 and expanded with Singles Classics in 2016. Amazon describes the initiative as “a way to make iconic articles, stories, and essays from well-known authors writing for top magazines and periodicals available in digital form, many for the first time.” It seems mostly designed to give Kindle Unlimited subscribers a library of special content. (More on that in a minute.)
  • Kindle Serials. This program was very active in 2012 and 2013, but Amazon stopped publishing serials in collaboration with authors in 2014 and no longer features them on the site.
  • Kindle Worlds. This program launched in 2013 and provided a way for authors and fan-fiction writers to collaborate in a way that profited everyone. It was discontinued, to authors’ great disappointment, in 2018.
  • Kindle Scout. Launched in 2014, this was kind of like American Idol for unpublished books. Any writer could upload the beginning of a story, along with a cover, and try to gather as many reader votes as possible to catch the attention of Amazon staff and secure a boilerplate book contract with Amazon Publishing. It also closed in 2018.
  • Kindle Press. This program published titles primarily coming from Kindle Scout. It was discontinued in 2019.
  • Write On by Kindle. Launched in 2014, this was kind of like Amazon’s version of Wattpad, an online writing community. It closed in 2017.
  • Amazon Storywriter and Storybuilder. In 2015, Amazon launched special, free software to help people more easily write their scripts, presumably for the discovery benefit of Amazon Studios. It shut down in 2019.
  • Day OneAmazon’s literary journal was produced every week starting in October 2013 until it closed in 2017.

Read the rest here…