In trying to downplay it’s image as the Large Hadron Collider of publishing, Amazon skips authors and publishers and goes straight to the fine folks who connect them (when the cut is profitable enough to bother).
The online retailing giant flew out a dozen of New York’s top literary agents last week for a day of meetings at its Seattle headquarters. Steven Kessel, senior vice president of worldwide digital media, led the all-day presentations and discussions, which centered on Amazon’s wildly successful Kindle e-reader and the future of the e-books business.
According to one participant, the aim of the meetings, which culminated in a dinner Thursday evening, was for Amazon to “explain itself” to the agent community, whose members fear that e-books could undermine the book-publishing business much the way that digital file-sharing and iTunes upended the music industry.
“They’re not entirely used to their role as the evil empire,” said the agent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
In particular, the agent added, Amazon wanted to be clear that “they are not trying to destroy publishing as we know it.”