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Summary:

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo frets that Amazon’s approach is holding new authors back, while its “predatory” behavior on various fronts is damaging bookstores like the one his daughter Emily owns and publishing overall. That and more in this video of his interview with Jeff Roberts at paidContent 2012.

Richard Russo paidContent 2012

Richard Russo paidContent 2012At our recent paidContent 2012 conference, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo said he believes that new young writers are at risk of never being discovered on Amazon due to the company’s algorithms. Russo proposed some solutions for this problem — including the personal attention from indie booksellers like his daughter Emily’s Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. Russo, now on The Authors Guild board, also talked with our Jeff John Roberts about Amazon’s “predatory” pricing, why he won’t self publish and more.

Here’s the full 22-minute video:

By the way, Russo and another daughter Kate are appearing at Greenlight Monday night to promotoe their print-only collaboration Interventions.

Follow more of our book publishing coverage by Laura Hazard Owen during BookExpo America this week and beyond on Twitter @laurahazardowen and here.

Update: Just after this went live, Amazon announced the acquisition of Avalon Books. The owner’s reasons for selling to the e-tailer show a very different view.

  1. Shehaaz Saif Monday, June 4, 2012

    I don’t see what is amazon doing wrong…It’s like blaming a book store for promoting popular authors like “Stephen King” on their windows

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  2. This article merits a great big “Huh?” I’ve encountered and enjoyed more new authors in Amazons Kindle store than anywhere else. The price is right and the books are easily find-able. Denial much?

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  3. Kevin McLaughlin Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Businesses sell products people want. If a new business sells a product in superior ways, the old businesses have two choices: catch up, or fade away. This is not predatory; this is the nature of capitalism. A business succeeds because it offers what customers want; it fails when someone else is doing that better. Unfortunately, the nature of the digital economy is that many types of brick and mortar retail are losing ground. That includes big electronics stores like Best Buy, and it includes physical bookstores.

    I’m also relatively confident that Emily has no blessed idea who most new authors are. But tens of thousands of them are making sales every day, thanks to Amazon and other ebook retailers. Contrary to Russo’s “failure to adapt” mindset, I and most other writers feel there has perhaps been no better time in history to be a writer. Amazon has done more to promote new writers and new work than any other single entity has in the four decades I’ve been around.

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