War is brewing in Germany over Amazon and digital/paper book sales.
What can generally be said is that Amazon has learned alot about the book selling business, and how digital books are sold. It's not pleasant news for big-name writers.
In the old days....everything was published from paper, from companies that managed the writing field and felt a dozen "winners" out of thousand transcripts submitted. Publishing companies would brag about their editors and "talkers".....who got a novel pushed up into public notice.....thus ensuring more profits.
When the digital era arrived....Amazon quickly found itself a way to pick-up, market, and sell in a radical fashion. If a thousand transcripts arrived at Amazon....they found the way to load them, sell them, and by word-of-mouth.....sales either picked up or stagnated around each single book.
German writers have noted some attempts by Amazon to push the selling price down. If they only want to publish in paper format.....Amazon wants the book at a certain price, and sells it at what you'd say is a discounted price. In the past, you'd walk into a German bookstore.....to find a big-name book at 29-Euro or 24-Euro. Amazon wanted the price to be competitive....more at the 15-to-20 Euro range or less.
The digital field? I think it's kinda of silly when I browse and there's an interesting title.....for $16 as a digital product. I usually pass the price indicated. If it's not less than ten dollars.....I won't touch it. Amazon knows there's plenty of readers like me.....just drawing a line and refusing to buy at inflated rates.
Added to this mess....a bunch of first-time writers who are marketing their own book....selling it for $5....and shocking the book industry with self-publishing tactics which Amazon makes possible.
Amazon's attempt to push the book industry down? It centers around the charge that they've delayed shipments of the paper-bound books, thus making it an extra week or month before the reader gets his book via their method. If true, and readers felt screwed....they'd retreat from Amazon and go back to their local city book store. So far, it's just talk.
Where is this heading? The major book companies and writers want public sentiment going toward them....NOT Amazon. The book companies are fighting what is their last big battle, I think. Within ten years....ninety-five percent of all book sales will be digital. Amazon will control the majority of book sales in Germany (again, my humble opinion). And just about anyone will be able to write, publish, and get their stuff read.
The day of big-name writers getting a up-front bonus for a book or a $200,000 deal for publishing? It's just me saying this, but I think that period is coming to a close. If you started out in your 30's writing two or three really great books....got lost by age forty with some issues....then wrote three or four losers.....there won't be a book company there to carry you through to later success and continued paychecks. Capitalism has finally arrived in the German book-publishing business, and it won't be a pleasant thing for some writers.