Author Grants Amazon Exclusive Rights

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Well regarded author Stephen Covey has moved to give Amazon exclusive rights to publish the electronic versions of his work from his usual publishers over to Amazon, whose Kindle has been vastly successful as a vehicle for the format.

In its report, the New York Times names Covey as one of the most successful writers of the last twenty years, so it seems fair to say that Covey isn’t angling to easy publicity by being the first author signed exclusively to Amazon, but it’s still going to be a bit of a nasty surprise to book publishers who, until quite recently, haven’t really had too much to fear from the ebook market.

Of course, it’s not just Amazon’s Kindle that’s managing to break ebooks away from desktops and into a more manageable format. Sony’s Reader series has been developing for a few years now into something really respectable, though the two boast fairly different arrangements when it comes to their respective online catalogues.

Still, the fact that the market is divided in terms of hardware doesn’t necessarily make too much difference to authors when it comes to making their work available, unless of course they (like Covey) elect to make their work available on one platform or another exclusively.

The real question now, for publishers, will be just how much Amazon manages to eat into their profits. With ebooks on the rise and so many people picking up ebook readers over the Christmas block, it seems likely that we’ll see more authors setting up arrangements with digital sales. Of course, in a manner similar to other digital distribution arrangements, it seems that the author sees a bigger share of the profits made via downloads than physical sales, which is always nice (unless you happen to be a publisher).

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