Amazon is tossing away the traditional publishing model and is about to scare the crap out of traditional publishers. This Fall, Amazon will be publishing 122 books in both physical and digital formats.
What makes this so Earth shattering? They'll be bypassing the traditional publisher model and are going straight to the authors. Amazon is essentially giving the middle finger to the publisher, and now talks directly to the authors, no need for the middleman at all anymore. (According to Amazon, via the NY Times.)
Amazon will be doing all the middle work too, including editing; a big step for an online site that started out selling goods to millions around the world. There is no word on how profits will be split, but for now, Amazon has publishers freaking out.
Imagine if musicians took the same model that Amazon is now pushing on Authors. What if iTunes, Zune, or even Spotify got into the publishing game and bypassed the record labels? Thinking about how that would shake things up and have a dynamic shift of power makes it seem almost unrealistic. Sure, music and writing are a bit different from each other, but they both depend on a middleman to get their product out there. Amazon is trying to bypass this step and hopefully we might see others follow their lead.