Pity the poor old big Publishers!!

The news that the organisers of the Man Booker prize are examining whether or not to allow Amazon to enter books for the prize has incensed those with most to loose.

Some of the bigger publishers are against such a move. Long-established publishers don’t like the fact that Amazon cuts out literary agents, publishers and bookshops in the traditional route to market. They even question whether books published by Amazon are more like vanity publishing than serious literature. They also raise the issue of an Amazonian monopoly in online book-selling and in downloads.


First of all, the big, established publishers have been quite content to dominate the existing routes to the market by, for example, meeting and paying the, in my view, discriminatory and excessive charges demanded by booksellers, like Waterstones, to stock titles and display them in prime locations (both within the stores themselves and across the network of branches). Also, the book buyers in the chains and supermarkets favour the large publishers, with juicy deals and discounts cementing their arrangements. Added to that, cosy relationships with reviewers compounds the closed shop aspect. It is difficult for small publishers to break in.

Excuse me, therefore, whilst I show no pity for the big publishers. Their cries of unfairness and monolopy leave me unmoved. So too do their accusations of vanity publishing, when I know for a fact that these days it applies throughout the publishing world.

So, come on big publishers, man up and face competition in the Man Booker.

Neil Thomas

Posted on 20th October 2011 by Neil Thomas • Permalink

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