How Amazon Destroyed the Publishing Ecosystem

March 12, 2014

Everyone takes a shot at Amazon, and it’s not difficult to see why. Founder/CEO Jeff Bezos is blamed for just about every corporate crime imaginable, from pricing that destroys competition to suffocating warehouse employees on hot summer days (apparently no longer a problem).

My criticism of Amazon is about an issue perhaps more subtle, but, in my view far more serious. Amazon has destroyed the publishing industry by destroying its well-honed ecosystem. Sure, all of the other issues and criticisms stay on the table. This issue is for me the heart of darkness of our beleaguered industry. (more…)

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BOOKISHNESS: What Makes a Book a Book?

April 22, 2013

In our madcap rush to digitize the book we’ve been all too willing to attempt both to replicate the physical book experience in the digital realm and to just as quickly discard any feature of physical books that proved too challenging to emulate online. (more…)

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Maundy Thursday Special: Goodreads Betrays Both Writers and Readers

March 28, 2013

What impeccable timing from Goodreads, on a day observed by many because of a far more potent betrayal.

The Goodreads’ folks always struck me as decent people who genuinely care about writers and readers. I am surprised and disappointed. Perhaps even saddened.

I would imagine that Goodreads’ 30 pieces of silver are many, many millions. I think that they must have been well paid for this betrayal; the decision cannot have been easy.

Amazon  Press Release Goodreads







Thad McIlroy on Goodreads









Remove your data from Goodreads







Goodreads export







March 29: All Things Digital reports that Amazon paid a base of $150 million, most cash (not that Amazon’s shares aren’t a solid currency) and may pay up to $200 million “if certain performance metrics are met.” It’s admittedly between difficult and impossible to say no to that kind of cash, especially if you can convince yourself that Amazon is keen on “continuing to grow (y)our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with (y)our unique culture. ” Hey it’s the same thing as Zappos, right?

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Running the Numbers on Barnes & Noble

April 13, 2012

In the wake of media speculation of the impact of the Department of Justice lawsuit against Apple, Macmillan and Penguin and the secondary speculation of the impact on Barnes & Noble I thought I’d run a few numbers and see what story they might reveal. (more…)

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How Would You Save Barnes & Noble?

March 30, 2012

What is it about the anonymity of the web that turns us instantly into triumphalist armchair critics? Best Buy today announced another disappointing quarter and we-who-know-all proclaim that the company is doomed, as are all retailers, and Amazon will be the only company left on the planet. (more…)

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