This eBooks post from Amber Naslund reminded me of a conversation I was having with Chris Brogan when he was here in New Orleans last week. I was asking him about his book [Amazon link], how he got the deal, etc. and he mentioned how little he makes on each book. He joked that if Amazon came to him and said they'd give him 40% of every book sold, he'd be in much better shape. You laugh but just wait. I'm not sure this future is that far off.
You see, I think Amazon doesn't just want to be your bookstore. No, with the newest Kindle, [Amazon link] they have set their eyes on a bigger prize. They want to cut out HarperCollins, Penguin and Wiley from the entire equation. You laugh, but think about it.
The new Kindle supports PDF. If I have one of those eBooks from Amber up there, I can email it to my Kindle (if I had one) and presto - Amber is a published author on my Kindle. If I'm Amazon, I want to make it even easier. I'll invite folks like Chris and Amber to post their free eBooks on Amazon and then I'll put the best ones on the front page of the site for Kindle owners to find. I might even want to push my Top 10 or Top 100 list directly to the Kindles. Or maybe each Kindle will get a "recommended" book each month based on the books they download already. It would be sort of Amazon's "gift" of discovery. Who wouldn't like that?
To all of this, I'll watch the click-thrus and see which authors drive the most traffic to their books using social media tools and such. Then I'll ring up the folks that drive a lot of traffic and I'll offer them that 40% deal Chris wants. And I'll get it. And I'll make money, because well, there is basically zero cost. Maybe to make it easier and the books visually more pleasing I'll give the authors some kind of eBook making tool and I'll have designers on hand who can make cool cover art to post on the site. So a little cost, but other than that -- it's digital. There just isn't a lot of cost involved here. Digital book warehouses are well, small. And the shipping charges -- very cheap.
Now, how many budding authors are going to rush out to list their free eBooks with Amazon, try and work the system and get the publishing deal so many of us want? I know I will. What about you? And what do you think about this whole "cut out the middleman" thing? Is this a fad or a trend?