Evolution of the Novel – Part 4 – The Amazon Effect

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For those of you who have been hiding under a rock for the past twenty years, Amazon is a massive Internet company that started out as a small online bookstore. Since it debuted in 1994, Amazon has grown into one of the largest companies in the world with annual revenues of almost $90 billion a year.

Even though Amazon has become a mass seller of just about anything you can think of, they are still a major player, some would say THE PLAYER, in the business they started out in. Selling books was Amazon’s original business and its one that they have completely flipped on its head ever since.

Originally Amazon changed the book business by quickly becoming the world’s largest bookseller. This has had a profound effect on those that sell books. According to this column in Forbes, Amazon combined with the expansion of superstore chains like Barnes and Noble and the recently closed Borders have cut down the number of independent book stores in half, from 4,000 to around 2,000. Of course it was also a big factor in the demise of the aforementioned Borders.

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Of course the biggest impact Amazon has had on the book world was the creation of the device pictured above. When Amazon released the Kindle in 2007, it forever changed the book industry. For readers, for writers, and for publishers too. The digital revolution has come to the book world and it was Amazon who ushered it in.

Amazon has also become a force in the publishing world. In 2009 they started Amazon Publishing that publishes through at least six different imprints in both print and digital formats. The biggest impact they have made on the publishing world though is through their Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing imprint. This is where they have completely changed the world of self-publishing.

KDPIf you are an aspiring writer, you need to know about this option. This Forbes article tells a great story of an author who struck out in the traditional publishing world and now makes more than $450,000 a year publishing his own works through Amazon KDP. I’ll get more into this when I break down the publishing options for new writers, but suffice it to say Amazon has changed the way we buy, read and write our novels.

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