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Amazon lands anti-iPad Kindle deals, sees tablets as future

updated 05:45 pm EDT, Thu July 22, 2010

Amazon gets key Kindle book deals as iPad arrives

Amazon on the same day as it posted financial results obtained a potentially key book deal in its escalating wars with Apple and Barnes & Noble. The online retailer has bypassed publishers entirely and agreed with agent Andrew Wylie to exclusively publish books online by famous authors he has represented. Wylie's agreement gives the Kindle store sole e-book rights to authors such as the late Norman Mailer and John Updike as well as Philip Roth and 17 other writers.

The deal is controversial and has led to Random House, which normally publishes some of the authors, challenging Amazon's rights to publish the books online in a special deal without its consent. It has also decided not to buy any further rights to English versions of Wylie-represented books unless it could reach a truce.

Amazon's move may be part of a heated e-reader war that has seen major competitors cut prices or occasionally quit altogether. It may ultimately be a reaction to Apple, though, as the company has engaged in book deal wars with Apple since the iPad was unveiled to prevent the iBookstore from catching up quickly in availability. Amazon MP3 has long struggled to take any of iTunes' market share and may have left the firm eager to avoid a repeat in books.

CEO Jeff Bezos still acknowledged that Apple's device would play an important role and touted the virtue of tablets. He was "excited by the potential" of tablets and hinted that they could be a "meaningful additional driver" of income at Amazon. Over $1 billion in sales of all kinds at Amazon's store come from mobile devices, he said.

The executive didn't say which devices he expected would thrive, but the remarks may be allusions to his company's own plans. Amazon has been hiring LCD and Wi-Fi experts and bought a multi-touch developer. No tablets are expected in the near future, though, as most leaks surrounding the next Kindle have alluded to a modest upgrade that clings to e-paper.

Amazon may need to improve its performance quickly as it has turned in disappointing results. Although its profit jumped 45 percent year-over-year, to $207 million in the spring, most analysts had predicted significantly higher income. Investors have reacted to the sales harshly as Amazon shares have already dropped 14 percent in after-hours.

by MacNN Staff



  1. dankothehun

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Anti - iPad??

    How so? I don't have a kindle, but since I bought my iPad, I've bought lots of Kindle books and use them on the Kindle for iPad app. They seem to have more books than iBooks. The iPad is far more than just a book reader.

    Any such deal may hurt iBooks, but it would be an interesting stat to see Amazon's e-book sales to iPad users compared to Kindle (hardware) users.

  1. Spacemoose

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Publishers of Music, Books, Video...

    ...are all fast becoming anachronistic.

    You once had to have a huge infrastructure in place in order to put your content in front of a large audience. This is changing.

  1. MorituriMax

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Strangely enough . . .

    . . . I have absolutely no desire to buy a Kindle, now or in the future, but with my iPad and it's Kindle app, I buy lots of Amazon Kindle titles.

  1. cal6n

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Workflow goes like this:

    1. Buy from kindle app
    2. Strip DRM
    3. Import into iTunes
    4. Read in iBooks

    Job done...

  1. mherbson

    Joined: Dec 1969



    FYI, Mr. Spacemoose: that "huge infrastructure" is not so huge, and really does provide value to the author. Trust me: without the contributions of professional editors, supplied by the publishing houses, most of the books you read today would be much worse. Publicity (if you don't know it exists, you won't read it), book design (yes, even ebooks need some designing) and more are all part of that infrastructure, too.

    I would like to know what kind of editorial and design staff Amazon has on hand to turn the author's rough draft into a readable, well laid-out book.

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What does one strip the DRM from kindle books with?

  1. chas_m




    If Amazon's move breaks the back of some of the more unscrupulous (read: big) publishing houses and spreads to things like music and movies, I will kiss Jeff Bezos full on the lips.

    But at the moment it looks like a desperate move.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    living in a dreamworld

    Authors can and do bypass traditional publishers - with greater success than ever before.

    The argument that traditional publishers have editors - wow, as if an author couldn't hire his own editor.
    That's commodity work.

    Editing is not the primary service that publishers were offering, in the old days it was production - the actual printing of words on paper, and its distribution network.

    That need is completely negated in a digital world - its just a fact.

    What publishers still have sometimes, is marketing - depends upon the publisher.

    But a famous author can consider bypassing that, their own brand might be much stronger than the publishers. A non-famous author, might have no choice to bypass that, since the publishers aren't very much interested in non-famous authors and may ignore you anyway.

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