Thursday, June 25, 2009

Desperate Publishers of Manhattan

Poor Book Depository having been cast as the next Amazon.com killer by publishers desperate for some broadening of the retailer market they face inevitable marginality. On the back of 'they've seen some success' and 'they offer free shipping anywhere in the world' it is suggested they are a legitimate player in the US market dominated by Amazon.

David Rothman at Teleread.org addresses this silliness further (Teleread):
Some wishful publishers are rejoicing that a British company called The Book Depository will go after the U.S. market and in other ways compete online against Amazon.

Alas, I’m not so optimistic. Would you believe, the little TeleBlog in recent months has drawn more traffic at times than The Book Depository has, according to Alexa. Even allowing for Alexa’s inaccuracies, it’s clear that the Book Depository is not that big a power on the Net. Perhaps eventually the store will be. But it has a long way to go as an Amazon rival—look at the chart below. In the comparison, you can’t even see the Book Depository’s line. What’s more, if the Book Depository has a Kindle equivalent, that’s news to me. Just how is the company to be a major power in a fast-growing sector like e-books?

And another bizarre aspect to this flaccid conversation is there's no mention of B&N.com.

1 comment:

eoinpurcell said...

Michael,

No doubt you are right, knowing the market better as you do.

I'd caution against ruling TBD out of the game though. Amazon.co.uk is and was a fairly effective business and TBD has prospered nonetheless.

I think their core market is more the avid or medium book reader and they lure them in with savvy use of content.

They may not in fact displace Amazon but they can make money in the US and perhaps even make amazon's book business less profitable for them by siphoning off the cream of buyers.

That in itself would be a nice achievement!
Eoin