Monday, December 12, 2011

Amazon Acquires Marshall Cavendish Children's Books

Last week, Amazon announced that it purchased the children’s trade division of Marshall Cavendish. There’s been lots of commentary and discussion around the internet, for good reason, I think. I sure didn’t see it coming. :)

Amazon hasn’t exactly been reserved in expressing their opinion about traditional publishing. When they launched their self-pub division, they gave frequent public statements about why traditional publishing is out of date and pointless. Then, they launched their Encore imprint, which is more in line with traditional publishing. I don’t know too much about it, though, since they don’t do much in the way of children’s fiction.

But now they’ve purchased Marshall Cavendish’s entire children’s trade business, which has an established publishing reputation and good editors that work on high quality books. One of their books was even nominated for the National Book Award this year. Amazon has no plans to change the way these editors do business, and announced that no one will be laid off. It seems like they want a solid foot in the traditional publishing world. The question is, why?

Honestly, I don’t know. Amazon goes to such extremes that it’s tough to discern what they truly feel about any subject. Plus, they haven’t exactly hidden the fact that they want to dominate everywhere, especially the book market. But this is what I hope will happen…

There are quite a few aspects of publishing that worked fine ten, even five, years ago. But with the recent explosion in technology and ebooks, plus the economy being what it is, some older practices aren’t working so well anymore. Amazon has lots of savvy business folks and innovative, forward thinkers. If anyone can modernize the publishing business, they can. And, they’re brave enough to experiment a bit to see what works and what doesn’t. Also, having a fully established, traditional publishing house under their roof might give them a bit more insight into what needs to happen in order to have a successful publishing business with high quality books listed in their catalog.

But still, it is Amazon, the company that wants to ‘take over the world.’ :) I don’t entirely trust them because they’ve done so many 180 degree turns, all in the name of promoting their latest venture. That said, I’m still hopeful. I have my fingers crossed that good things will come from this, both for the sake of Marshall Cavendish’s current authors, and for the future of publishing.


Kelly Hashway said...

Interesting. I wasn't aware of this. But I guess if Barnes and Noble owns Sterling, Amazon felt they needed a traditional pub, too. They seem to not be able to let anyone one up them.

Tabitha said...

Yeah, that sums them up quite well. :) They're really good at barrelling into one thing with supersonic speed, making all kinds of noise and ruckus to sell their new venture, and then do the same thing in the opposite direction if it gets them what they want. They're like the insecure kid on the playground who's always trying to steal the spotlight. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about this. A writer has so many decisions to make.

Mirka Breen said...

None of us is sure how it would all pan out, but what is certain is that we are at a historic shift when it comes to publishing.

Tabitha said...

Brigitte - yeah, we sure do. :) It's a difficult industry to navigate.

Mirka - I totally agree. Things are changing so rapidly that it's going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.