It seems that one major online corporation is rarely out of the news at the moment. Since there’s no dearth of well-researched articles about Amazon, here’s a theory about their influence based on nothing more than supposition. No data, no inside information, nada. Zip.
Global publishing has been buoyed in recent years by a string of books that have exploded globally like supernovas. From The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to The Hunger Games, from Twilight to 50 Shades, publisher accountants have separated out such business altering exceptions so as not to distort their day job of copyright exploitation.
So why have there been none of those in the past two years? Sure, John Green seems permanently rooted to the bestseller list. Divergent seems to have helped HarperCollins post some good figures recently, and Egmont have had fun with the Minecraft books. But no bubble, no books that everyone seems to be reading or talking about.
Now, it could just be that nothing has emerged. That no publisher or indie writer has recently hit on the alchemical formula for mass consumption. Before Harry Potter and Dan Brown, you could argue that it had been a while since Bridget Jones or Thomas Harris. But maybe it’s because the last two years have coincided with Amazon’s being the dominant global seller of books, a business in which promotion and buying and selling is now based on the science of algorithms, not the instincts and experience of a publisher. It is truly consumer driven. And that is not how these bubbles come about. They come about because international publishing machines focus and prioritise and market to the exclusion of other books to amplify the first shoots of success.
Just a theory, based on a hunch, rolled up in a ponder. Of course, we could just all need a holiday…