Amazon takes on kids' books

beech-tree1Looks like Amazon is at it again!
The New York Times reported last week that Amazon has continued its push into publishing. The company recently acquired more than 450 titles from Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books, a niche publisher best known for its educational titles.
There seems to be no stopping this giant in its quest to take a larger share of both the bookselling business and the book publishing business. Seems unfair, doesn’t it?
Personally, I don’t know much about the children’s book publishing industry, which is quite different from the trade book publishing world in which I live. Nonetheless, I don’t feel too worried about this move.
Undoubtedly, some authors will flock to Amazon because (from what I understand) they offer very competitive royalty rates. And as Amazon will most likely hire the best editors and designers they can find and there are many without work these days I expect they will operate as well as any publisher.
But each publisher is different, and each offers a different experience. I’d like to believe that even with Amazon’s continuing forays into creating books not just selling them there will still be a place for many other publishers. Not ones that are necessarily more discerning but ones that have a more specialized focus, offer more personalized services, or see the potential in bringing unique voices to market.
In any case, I have to admit that I much prefer that authors flock to Amazon’s publishing arm than to self-publishing tools (and tools offered by others, including some actual publishers!).
Self-publishing is growing fast, and despite the endless hype about successful authors who’ve turned to self-publishing after being ignored by mainstream publishers, the backlash against poorly edited, poorly designed e-books has already begun.
I am definitely curious — both as a reader and acquisitions editor about how this will all play out. My guess is that by this time next year, the landscape will already be dramatically different.
Stay tuned, readers …
Jess Haberman is a full-time acquisitions editor at the Globe Pequot Press/FalconGuides and a part-time Dragonfly editor.

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