Publishers To Compete With Online Retailers?
from the middlemen?--what-middlemen? dept
Apparently, publishing house Random House is thinking about jumping into the online retail business themselves, trying to sell books directly to the public. This isn’t the first time such ideas have been discussed, but it’s apparently pissed off Barnes & Noble — a retailer who does have a public presence already, and one which could cause some problems for Random House should the publishing company decides it wants to compete. For all the talk about how the internet was supposed to get rid of middlemen, there are plenty of very good reasons for middlemen in certain areas, and sometimes trying to go direct and route around your channel can cause a lot more problems than it solves. It’s likely that retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon will put enough pressure on Random House to make them rethink this idea, to the point that any direct sales will be a minor part of their business.
Comments on “Publishers To Compete With Online Retailers?”
Publishers gone direct
Now obviously Random House could make a lot of money on this and prove me wrong, but I think a book publisher is exactly the sort of business that should not try to sell direct to the public. If I want to buy a book, I think of author, and genre, and sometimes title — but I *never* think to myself, “Hey — I’d like to buy a Random House book today!” The publisher is meaningless to my buying decision. So assuming most people are like me, the only people who would use this direct retail channel are people who are already browsing the publisher’s site and realize that they can buy something there. They’ll get some impulse sales that way, but it doesn’t sound like a very high-volume opportunity.
Pot and kettle
While I guess I can understand B&N being unhappy with Random House, it’s also the case that B&N has a “house imprint” that they have stocked – making them in effect a publisher.