The New York Times reports on an interesting development. Amazon’s entry into publishing looks to have speeded up some changes in the way traditional publishers report to authors. What we might well find is that entry of new players with different imperatives may put previously unreviewed (and sometimes antiquated) systems into play and innovating around them could provide new points of difference. This may have the effect of publishers competing with each other on a wider range of offerings and not just the advance and marketing plans.
For anyone who has ever experienced the author/agent meeting with inadequate figures this new transparency may seem a rather uncomfortable development. But it may also force a new, more collaborative and engaged relationship, which would be no bad thing. When authors have found it difficult to get a good impression of their books performance they have often interpreted the lack of data as uneccesary obfuscation. Truth is that publishers also have skin in the game, and if everyone is much clearer about that upfront and on an ongoing basis, then authors and publishers have much more chance of working together effectively.
(the book above is Gary Younge’s Who We Are, which, in my humble opinion, is a great book).