As the publishing world tries to decide what it thinks about ebooks, Amazon is charging ahead with a brand new NY-based publishing house called New Harvest. I’m talking about a real publishing company, as in signing big name authors and distributing actual print books… as in the model that Amazon has helped to render obsolete… like a Penguin or Random House.
That’s the idea, at least. Many of Amazon’s competitors like B&N, Google, and Apple iBookstore aren’t playing ball. As the nation’s largest print bookseller, B&N’s cooperation is pretty critical in any successful print release, but that’s not happening…
After a shaky first release (Penny Marshall’s My Mother Was Nuts), Amazon has tapped Tim Ferris for the publishing company’s all-important sophomore release — The 4-Hour Chef. Ferriss is viewed as a smart choice, because both of his books have sold in the 500k range. Of course, those title were published by Random House.
And with titles like The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss has been an unmitigated success in the self-improvement niche… but that’s doesn’t exactly put him on the path to a Pulitzer. And when he signed with Amazon, that put him smack in the middle of a publishing war. Ferriss can’t be too thrilled with this development, in retrospect.
According to Paid Content, Ferriss is not concerned with his book’s success on the NYT Bestsellers list. He’s happy to measure success in terms of reach and revenue…
Publicly, at least, Ferriss is using it to bolster his argument about the advantages of ePub, of which there are many. For starters, he got Amazon to agree to a cross-promotional strategy that will link his books together, inserting excerpts from his new book inside other in the ‘4-Hour’ series and vice-versa.
Unfortunately for Ferriss, Amazon didn’t agree to put actual purchase links in the books… That’s what any marketer would coach you to do, of course.
Apparently, New Harvest is interested in finding a balance between raw digital marketing power and literary integrity… the respectability that Amazon currently lacks within the old school publishing community.