This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail U.K.’s Mail Online site on 5/15/11.
Amazon has been accused of trying to ‘wreck’ the book trade by turning itself into one of the world’s leading publishers.
Critics claim the online retailer’s plans to produce its own titles will give it a stranglehold on the industry and drive traditional publishing houses and book shops out of business.
One literary agent who asked not to be named said: ‘It is a crazy and ridiculous idea which will end up wrecking the publishing industry.’
Amazon has already come under fire for ‘ruthlessly’ undercutting traditional retailers on the price of books.
It has launched four publishing businesses: Amazon Encore, specialising in first-time writers; Amazon Crossing, which sells English language translations of foreign books; Montlake Romance; and non-fiction range Domino.
The move is part of a campaign to further boost demand for the company’s Kindle electronic reader, which is the biggest- selling product of its kind in the world. The ebooks published by Amazon will be available only through this device.
The strategy is already proving a success and several of the 65 titles the firm has published have made it on to best-seller lists.
But critics say the strategy will further undermine demand for traditional print books and will put increased pressure on small and independent publishers which are struggling to survive.