As some of you may know, one of my favorite publishers, Marshall Cavendish, was acquired by Amazon in December. I became an Amazon author overnight. A number of my writer and illustrator friends were in the same position. What does this mean? Is it good or bad? None of us know for sure.
First impressions weren’t so great. A majority of large chain and independent bookstores view Amazon as an unfair competitor. Barnes & Noble sent all their Cavendish titles back. Several friends at independent bookstores regretfully told me that they couldn’t order any of my books as long as they were coming from Amazon. Yikes! What’s going on? I felt as if I’d been awarded The Scarlet Letter.
Well, I’m happy to report that things appear to be settling down. Barnes & Noble has reversed its decision, feeling that the authors and artists caught in the middle would suffer most for decisions which they had no part in making. That’s good news. The independents may come around—or I may find some way around an outright ban that works out for all concerned.
And let’s face it: Amazon is a pioneer in e-book development which, like it or not, is going to be the future of publishing. That’s why I was pleased to receive an email today from Jenny Parnow, who is in charge of author relations at Amazon. Jenny sent me a copy of an email blast that went out this past weekend to all owners of the Kindle Fire. (That’s a lot of readers!) It featured several popular Amazon picture books, all available for $1.99. They’re free to Amazon Prime members as part of Amazon’s e-book library program.
My newest book, Jack and the Giant Barbecue, is one of the featured books. Jenny expressed the hope that it will lead to lots of downloads for me.
I hope so. This is all new territory. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen. What I do know is that the e-book is here to stay. With advances in technology, it may lead to a rebirth of the picture book.
I’m waiting to see what develops. For now, I’m very excited and happy to be part of the future.