Why Beating Amazon Is So Hard

Amazon-logoPublishers that think about Amazon as a multi-billion-dollar break-even business that doesn’t care if it makes money may be missing the point.

A better way to look at the company is a conglomerate with some mature businesses and some in the investment stages. And the Amazon books business is one of those mature ones and is likely very profitable – and a very tough competitor, set to get tougher as Amazon continues to increase its market share.

But it also pays to look at the company in a wide-angle lens. One of the reasons Amazon is such a tough competitor is that it has so many different kinds of businesses.

An explanation.

Related: Learn more about Amazon at Digital Book World 2014, where nearly a half day of programming is devoted to the topic.

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The rest of the day’s top news:


Rumor: New Nook E-Reader Slated for Thursday, 10/31 (Forbes)
Rumor has it that a new Nook e-reading device, based on the same technology that powers the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Aura HD, will be announced this week Thursday.


Apple’s Big Quarter (DBW)
Apple’s fourth quarter was its biggest on record, with revenues around $35 billion and profit of around $7.5 billion. More relevant to publishers: The company put nearly 50 million more iPhones and iPads (read: e-reading devices) into people’s hands in the quarter.


Ruckus Sells Out (DBW)
Children’s app and ebook publisher Ruckus Media as sold a 75% stake to KiwiTech, a Washington, D.C.-based app company.


Macmillan Crowdsourcing Acquisition With Swoon Reads (Mashable)
The large publisher launched the site last month to find new talent in the young adult genre. Authors of young adult work can post their books on the site to have them read by other users and Macmillan editors. It’s a bit reminiscent of Penguin’s Book Country.


Quarter of Europeans Buy Content Online (The Bookseller)
According to a new report, nearly a quarter of Europeans use the Internet to buy books, ebooks and other content products.


Pros and Cons: Self-Publishing and Direct Sales (Forbes)
One self-publishing author pulled her books from Amazon to make a go at only selling them direct. The advantage? Data and revenue. The disadvantage? Scale of audience. The net: She’s staying with direct sales only…for now.


CCC Pays a Record in Royalties (PW)
In its fiscal year ending June 30, the nonprofit Copyright Clearance Center paid $188.7 million in royalties to rights holders, a record number.


The Week That Was (Good E Reader)
A spirited discussion about Amazon Publishing, libraries and ebooks and much more!


Digital Distribution for Start-up Publishers (Pub Perspecitves)
Starting small and getting the details right from the start (ahem: metadata) can help a nascent digital publishing operation get its distribution right.

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