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Amazon’s Black Hole for Data. Joseph J. Esposito Digital Book World 2014. The “Hawking Radiation” Project. Metaphor from astrophysics: information that escapes from a “black hole” Amazon is notoriously secretive Some of the information it releases is misleading

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Amazon’s Black Hole for Data


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    1. Amazon’s Black Hole for Data Joseph J. Esposito Digital Book World 2014

    2. The “Hawking Radiation” Project • Metaphor from astrophysics: information that escapes from a “black hole” • Amazon is notoriously secretive • Some of the information it releases is misleading • The fawning media compound Amazon’s reticence • How to find indirect ways to get data about Amazon?

    3. Strategies • Work with defined subset of books (university press titles) • Interview U. press directors • Interview wholesalers • Interview librarians (from 4-year colleges) • Blog about findings to garner comments and additional information

    4. Interesting Data Points • A French-language U. press site receives one-half of sales from outside France: http://www.lcdpu.fr • Many American press note increasing feedback from overseas readers • All U. presses report declining sales through B&T • All presses report sharply rising sales through Amazon for print

    5. It appears that Amazon . . . • . . . is quietly taking a growing share of the international market • . . . is becoming a significant distributor to libraries • . . . is increasingly competing with B&T and Ingram • And all this is for print only

    6. A Supply-chain Paradox: Case Study • A publisher ships books to (say) B&T • A library orders a book from Amazon • Amazon orders the book from B&T • B&T drop-ships the book to the library in an Amazon box • Librarians say they order from Amazon instead of B&T because the service is better!!!

    7. Speculations • Amazon’s market share may be even larger than generally assumed • Market share in libraries is unknown; some estimates put it at 10% or higher • (Currently working on a grant application to research this with an extensive library survey) • Likelihood Amazon will develop strategy to migrate this print market share to digital, perhaps through acquisition

    8. Contact Information • Joseph J. Esposito • espositoj@processedmedia.com • @josephjesposito • +Joseph Esposito • http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org