I’ve just read Joe Konrath’s blog entitled ‘Amazon Will Destroy You’. It’s written to the Traditional Publishing industry in general and is a summary of the mistakes they have made in both underestimating, and failing to engage with the digital market. It has drawn a good deal of comment, not least of all for its tone.
I’m an admirer of Konrath and even if he hangs up his laptop tomorrow he will most certainly be remembered as one of the pioneers of digital self publishing. And while his tone is certainly fiery and uncompromising it’s no different from the one he uses to give encouragement to aspiring writers.
What does bother me is his failure, in this instance, to apply any of his usual ‘dry your eyes and quit being a baby’ philosophy to himself because if this is how he feels with fame and fortune firmly in his grasp one can only imagine the scene when his former publishers actually gave him the bullet two years back.
That said, the conversation he had last week with Amazon’s 'Key People' must have been pretty interesting too because by the time he sat down to write his blog the following Monday he’d convinced himself that not only were traditional publishers non-essential but that their entire industry was doomed.
He makes this last assertion in such cataclysmic terms that I was surprised it ended without reference to a time of great suffering and darkness or mention of a foul pestilence stalking the land.
Konrath is a stickler for precision, as evidenced by his frequent and detailed breakdowns of sales and revenue but he makes no attempt back his claims up here which is a shame because we all know there is truth in much of what he says.
For Amazon though, he is full of praise: ‘They're all about challenging themselves to do better, to focus on the future, to learn from the past. They're all about pleasing the customer.’
But again, this is stuff most of us know and Konrath should be careful that he does not go from being Self Publishing’s poster boy to simply being Amazon’s boy.
Here is Felice Therese, Online Content Manager for a Traditional Publishers on how she promotes ebooks.
Here’s Philip Jones, Editor of Futurebook on why the Traditional Publishers are far from finished.
And finally, here is the man himself, Joe Konrath.