Former Time Warner Book Group CEO Larry Kirshbaum jumps from the traditional publishing world to “the dark side,” heading up Amazon Publishing. Meanwhile, the Big Six watch closely:
Amazon could be an unstoppable competitor to big publishing houses. If history is any guide, Jeff Bezos, who declined to comment for this story, doesn’t care whether he loses money on books for the larger cause of stocking the Kindle with exclusive content unavailable in Barnes & Noble’s Nook or Apple’s iBookstores. He’s also got almost infinitely deep pockets for spending on advances to top authors. Even more awkwardly for publishers, Amazon is their largest retailer, so they are now in the position of having to compete against an important business partner. On the West Coast people cheerfully call this kind of arrangement coopetition. On the East Coast it’s usually referred to as getting stabbed in the back.
More from Stone: “The Omnivore.” — Bloomberg Businessweek, Sept. 28, 2011