Battle of the Amazons, or, Comparing Apples & Oranges

If you want to know where publishing is going, forget tea leaves and oracles and read these two reports from the front lines.

In “The Difference Between Apple & Amazon,” Dan Frommer hits on a contrast with implications for what we’ll be buying and doing for the rest of our lifetimes.  As Peter Brantley recently observed, in the 21st century it’s technology companies, not authors or publishers, who are shaping literature.  Frommer looks at this Colossus of Rhodes astride our landscape and reminds us that one foot’s about making stuff that everybody on earth wants to use, and one foot’s about selling really cool hardware.  Which is reaping bigger profits?  Which is more likely to achieve planetary domination?  Some surprising answers here!

In “Hats off to Amazon” Mike Shatzkin perceptively assesses the real message in Bezos & Co’s recent press conference.  It’s not the new Kindle Fire, or being able to opt out of ads, that makes Amazon — now more than ever — a force to reckon with.  It’s their astute exploitation of where multimedia’s going and who’s on board, notably including the kids who are growing up with tablets rather than books, TV, or CD players as their default entertainment source.  In a culture that defines the winner as the one who dies with the most toys, this is major news!