MAGA is four corporations that will control the future of publishing in America. Sure the big publishers still control the bulk of the content. But that is changing. These corporations control the access to the consumer. These corporations also have deep, deep, deep pockets.
Control of the delivery system is crucial. Amazon has shown how powerful this is by shutting off the valve when issues with publishers arise. None of them can survive without strong content…. but they control the roads.
Who is MAGA?
Microsoft invested $300-million in Barnes and Noble and now is a 17% owner in the new company Nook Media. Their device is the Nook HD. B&N and MSFT also are partners in the college bookstore division. Although Microsoft does not own the B&N trade bookstores, the Nook will continue to have a ‘special relationship.’ B&N superstores are the only national bookstore chain in America.
Apple just announced the iPad mini. It is aimed directly at the Nook HD, Kindle File and Google Nexis 7. Finally an Apple product that is close in price and size to these other smaller tablets. Apple has spent less time developing their iBookstore, but they do have 1.5-million titles. They also have a focus on education and text-books that the others do not.
Google has not been a player in the eBook retail world. Their partnership with the ABA and independent bookstores was a colossal failure. They aborted it in a year. Where Google is a player is the millions of orphaned books they digitized years ago. Finally all the lawsuits are settled (or appear to be) and soon they will be able to start to use in search and monetize. Google will continue to be important as they have millions of books the others may not.
Amazon is the big dog. They dominate eBooks and continue to create new models to sell books. Amazon is in first place but continues to pursue innovation. They have thousands of self-published authors that are selling books on their site. Millions of site that have books on them refer customers to Amazon via the affiliate program. Amazon is the undisputed leader.
So MAGA is in charge now.
Will there be room for another? Maybe. But there is definitely room for someone to carve out a niche where these giants have not seen. There is always hope and competition will come from places that will surprise the industry.
It’s a good time to be in publishing — even if the biggest companies in the Universe are fighting over the future.