Although digital platforms for written content have recently “exploded," author Ben Mezrich warns that websites like Amazon could spell the demise of traditional book publishing as we know it.
Considering the very clear stakes for publishers in Amazon’s current dispute with Hachette Book Group regarding the flexibility of e-book prices, how do authors fit into the puzzle?
“Writing just books is very hard now. Making a living writing books has changed dramatically,” he told HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps. “That battle going on right now is terrifying for authors because the bottom line is if you commodify books, to the degree that it’s just like a lawnmower or just like something else, what is the value of a book? And nobody really has an answer to that question.”
But the struggle isn’t so black and white. While writers may not directly benefit from Amazon’s low e-book prices, the website, which is one of the biggest book retailers, is invaluable in reaching a mass audience that publishers no longer effectively target.
“Amazon, when it works, is a phenomenal thing for writers,” Mezrich said. “Writers make more money off their Kindle sales than they do off their books right now… The question is, what happens if that price [per Kindle sale] goes all the way down to 99 cents?”
Watch the full HuffPost live interview with Ben Mezrich here.
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