Second only to the mammoth Amazon corporation, individual booksellers are still more than capable of distributing their own content and material. Will direct publisher eCommerce empower publishers and booksellers to sell unique content to customers without a costly middleman getting involved?
Amazon’s Book Sales Monopoly
When it comes to books and ebooks, everyone knows that Amazon is first in command — they run a monopoly on all kinds of products, acting as an increasingly unavoidable third party standing between countless companies and their customers.
Having started out primarily as a bookseller, Amazon has slowly but surely expanded into other industries and products, and is now by far the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States. Plenty of companies these days depend entirely on Amazon to distribute their products — it’s both an opportunity and a trap for smaller brands.
Amazon was responsible for a striking 44% of eBook sales in 2012. In 2014, it sold 63% of books bought online and an astounding 40% of all books sold that year in general. To publishers, these numbers aren’t encouraging, but they’re not disqualifying, either — 23% of eBook sales in 2012 actually came from individual publishers running eCommerce software on their sites.
In an industry that’s worth over $6 billion, 23% is nothing to sneeze at, and publishers remain the second-largest distribution channel for written content.
While delivery services like Amazon certainly make some aspects of book sales easier, publishers are learning how to distribute on their own without the previously costly requirements of retail space and sales employees.
Now, they can have their own websites and run their own distribution strategies without paying Amazon to do it for them— and without losing revenue in the process.
Written content publishers should follow the lead of HBO, which with HBO NOW created its own platform for reaching out directly to its customers. All that publishers need is a top-notch branding and marketing strategy to get the attention of customers, and they can become their own Amazon — or at least stop forking over revenue to a distributing company like them.
Although it seems like Amazon will continue to expand the breadth and range of its business model, it’s important to consider the possibilities for the future of content distribution — what will tomorrow’s model look like? Could publishers establish their own platforms and sell their content directly?
Could this even be done by the individual authors themselves? Now more than ever, brands and people have the chance to take control of how they distribute what they create, whether it comes in the form of books, music, or video.
There’s no denying Amazon’s current monopoly, but there’s also no reason to fear it. Brands are being given the option to be their own direct distributer, and getting content directly to your customers has never been easier than it is right now.