Shelf Life, Amazon Imprints, Going Indie

Insights from NYT bestseller Bob Mayer:

Here are five things I believe authors need to be aware of and plan for:

1. Another dramatic loss of shelf space. This impacts the mid-list author. Reports of Barnes and Nobles demise might be premature, but the reality is, even in its stores, its swapping books out for other merchandise. They’re not going to swap out James Patterson for a stuffed animal, but they will replace a dozen midlist authors for a shelf of soft cuddly thing. Other major retailers have also cut back on shelf space.

. . . .

4. Amazon Publishing outgrowing some of the Big 5. Amazon has already had successes in its various publishing imprints. As it takes more and more of the market (and it IS taking more and more of the market) those imprints will correspondingly eat up more and more of it. My experience with 47North and talking to other Amazon authors is that Amazon takes more chances and changes much faster than traditional publishing. Which means some of the top authors there are going to become: Airport Authors.

5. I’ve been saying this for years, but the vibe I’m getting is stronger and stronger: several big name authors going hybrid and some, eventually, going completely indie. We see the creative discontent among many traditional authors. I think that will be the primary motivation: creative control. But there is also the factor of higher royalty rates. New York had a choke hold on print distribution, but every passing year that becomes much less of a factor than discoverability. For those authors who already have discoverability, the benefits of traditional publishing are growing less and less.

Read the rest here.

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