A book business evolution snapshot
As Megan Garber notes at the Nieman Journalism Lab, one of the most obvious aspects of the new @author feature is that it disintermediates the publishers who normally act as middlemen between writers and readers (and who rarely pass on questions to authors, as anyone who has tried to contact one knows). While not all writers are going to want to respond directly to their audience, many have begun to get more interested in interacting with readers, including some who have adopted Twitter as a method of direct communication with fans—such as Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, who took part in Crowdsourcing author Jeff Howe’s recent experiment with a Twitter-powered global book club called “1book140.”
But connecting authors directly with readers isn’t the only way Amazon wants to disintermediate publishers. The online retailer has also taken a more direct step recently by signing a deal to publish Ferriss, whose books have become phenomenally popular over the past year. Although Amazon has published other authors, the Ferriss deal got the attention of many in the publishing world as a kind of shot across the bow of traditional publishers—many of whom are still smarting from their recent battles with Amazon over book pricing.