The world's largest bookseller, Amazon, just signed an agreement to buy Goodreads.
Goodreads: Over 14 million book lovers.
Amazon: Multibillions of dollars in book sales worldwide. (Not counting the Kindle devices)
This is a merging of the two most influential forces in the world of books.
|I snagged this image from DigitalBookWorld.com.|
Antitrust litigators, where are you when you're needed most? This is a new kind of monopoly unlike anything ever seen before.
But what will it mean?
Well lets look at Amazon's attempt to cater to bibliophiles with reviews and recommendations: Shelfari. Goodreads has been kicking Shelfari's ass all along. Will we see a merging of Shelfari and Goodreads systems? Maybe some linking back and forth? Maybe a few widgets here there and everywhere?
And what of Amazon's position to control content sales via the Kindle tablet line? How will they integrate Goodreads into the book-buying experience on Kindle tablets?
And what about the reviews, the lifeblood of popularity and discovery? What of Amazon's reviews vs. Goodreads reviews/ratings? Will Amazon forgo reviews for Goodreads plugin widgets or vice-versa, will Goodreads now feature Amazon reviews on each book page?
And what about discovery for us unknown Indie authors? In Addition to publishing with Amazon, many Indies use multiple retailers, blogs, social media, and Goodreads to find avenues of discovery. Mark Coker of Smashwords nailed it:
“Brilliant move by Amazon ... Amazon just locked up discovery for the next couple years.”
And now, via Goodreads, Amazon is able to dip their fingers into other retailer's sales figures and affiliate commissions. Goodreads has a thriving affiliate business, and massive tracking systems for affiliate links leading out to book retailers (Amazon and all its competitors). Amazon can now track who's buying what books from what retailer through Goodreads.
A monopoly of information and book buying habits.
These are just a few of the questions/thoughts in my mind. This is HUGE. This is the biggest thing to happen in the world of publishing since ebooks.
Authors & publishers beware.
Here's just a few links to articles on the merger:
Leave some comments below. I would love to hear thoughts and ideas on what this will mean for Indies and the world of publishing.