Amazon Might Be Even More Disruptive Than You Think

For as much as the headlines dissect Amazon.com's (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) new Kindles and adventures in streaming, it's easy to forget that the company's original business -- i.e., selling books online -- is expanding in creative ways, and that's good news for investors.

Take digital publishing. Amazon has built an entire operation out of helping authors self-publish, and earn cash from, original works. Novelist and comic-book writer John Jackson Miller, whose work is usually set in the Star Wars universe, recently used the e-tailer for his first self-published novel, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive.

"The editor I'm working with is one of my former editors at Random House on the Star Wars books, so working with him has been great. Their proofreaders have been world-class. I've just been astounded," Miller said in an interview. "The fact that Amazon understands its own data allows me as a number-cruncher myself to really know what's going on in the lifecycle of this product, and where I need to do my PR."

Call it a successful experiment for a seasoned pro who has written and published 20 graphic novels and a pair of narratives. Miller's latest, Kenobi, offers a take on what happened to outcast Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in the years between Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope.

That he's taken to self-publishing can't be a coincidence when so many amateur and pro writers from all corners are doing the same. According to Bowker, which keeps tabs on the publishing industry, more than 148,000 print books were self-published in 2011. Writers distributed more than 87,000 unique digital works over the same period. Amazon, ever the disruptor, appears to be handling more than its share of both.

Sources: Amazon, YouTube.

With Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, Miller wrote the novel like he would a comic book -- 12,000 words every two weeks. He'd then release the latest novel "episode," selling thousands of copies directly through Amazon. Miller had decent sales numbers even before the final product was available for purchase.

Would he do it again? Miller said writing another serialized novel, especially at the same pace, might be a bit much. But he also says self-publishing through Amazon is definitely a long-term option.

"In the past, everything I've done has been work for hire for a licensed publisher," Miller said. "I got to the middle of last year and realized I'd written a million words over the last 10 years, and I own maybe 5,000 of them."

Upping that total is going to take time. At least Amazon is around to help.

Are these the greatest companies of all time?
Our analysts recently took a hard look for three great businesses worth holding for the very long term. Amazon is one. Who are the other two? Find out in The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich". Inside you'll find out everything you need to know about these remarkable business, plus some tips for building wealth over the long term. Click here now to keep reading.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2659689, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/30/2014 4:23:24 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement