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November 22, 2012

Tim Ferriss and Amazon Try to Reinvent Publishing

Filed under: e-tailers — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:24 am

The official publication date for “The 4-Hour Chef” is Tuesday.

By DAVID STREITFELD

Tim Ferriss, the author of the “4-Hour” series of self-help books for young men, hails from the nutritional supplements world, where the product is going to rot in the warehouse unless customers feel it is going to change their lives forever right now. Amazon, more than just about any other large tech company, does not pretend it sees any value in the old order.

Bring these two elements together in the publication by Amazon of Mr. Ferriss’ new book, “The 4-Hour Chef,” and the result is a lot of noise, hype and anger, as well as some hints about the future of book publishing. Here are a few preliminary conclusions:

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November 6, 2012

Booksellers Resisting Amazon’s Disruption

By DAVID STREITFELD

Timothy Ferriss is the author of “The 4-Hour Chef,” published by Amazon.

Amazon prides itself on unraveling the established order. This fall, signs of Amazon-inspired disruption are everywhere.

There is the slow-motion crackup of electronics showroom Best Buy. There is Amazon’s rumored entry into the wine business, which is already agitating competitors. And there is the merger of Random House and Penguin, an effort to create a mega-publisher sufficiently hefty to negotiate with the retailer on equal terms.

Amazon inspires anxiety just about everywhere, but its publishing arm is getting pushback from all sorts of booksellers, who are scorning the imprint’s most prominent title, Timothy Ferriss’s “The 4-Hour Chef.” That book is coming out just before Thanksgiving into a fragmented book-selling landscape that Amazon has done much to create but that eludes its control.

Mr. Ferriss’s first book, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” sold nearly a half-million copies in its original print edition, according to Nielsen BookScan. A follow-up devoted to the body did nearly as well. Those books about finding success without trying too hard were a particular hit with young men, who identified with their quasi-scientific entrepreneurial spirit.

Signing Mr. Ferriss was seen as a smart choice by Amazon, which wanted books that would make a splash in both the digital and physical worlds. When the seven-figure deal was announced in August 2011, Mr. Ferriss, a former nutritional supplements marketer, said this was “a chance to really show what the future of books looks like.” Now that publication is at hand, that future looks messy and angry.

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September 28, 2011

Amazon’s grip tightens on the entire book-publishing chain

    By Julianne Pepitone

Amazon’s low-priced bestsellers and Kindle e-reader are famous for changing the book industry. What’s not so well known is how deeply Amazon’s tentacles reach into all parts of the industry, including its growing interest in inking deals with authors to publish some of the hit books Amazon sells.

Booksellers and publishers are crying foul, saying they’re being cut out of the chain by an aggressive Goliath. But some authors who have recently signed with Amazon Publishing say the company simply offered them a better, fairer deal than traditional publishers.

And those Amazon deals are a boon for consumers, the authors say, because they bring earlier book releases and cheaper prices.

Amazon quietly launched its own book imprint in 2009. The effort expanded the next year into a line of foreign translations and another of “manifestos” from thought leaders, but it stayed fairly under-the-radar until this May, when Amazon brought in famed New York editor Larry Kirshbaum to head up its Amazon Publishing unit.

Kirshbaum quickly dumped gasoline on Amazon’s publishing sparks: Last month, he signed uber-popular self-help author Timothy Ferriss, whose book The 4-Hour Workweek (published by Crown, a division of Random House) remains a perennial bestseller. Amazon plans to publish Ferriss’s next book, The 4-Hour Chef, in April 2012, in all formats: digital, audio, and old-fashioned ink on paper.

Ferriss is the highest-profile author yet to jump ship from the traditional publishing houses, and his defection has rivals spooked.

“Amazon is holding the entire book industry hostage,” says Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. “First they disintermediated retailers, and now it’s publishers and authors.”

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