Amazon.com, the world's biggest e-tailer, was originally created as an online book-seller, but as the digital revolution evolves it has now moved to undermine the very publishers it originally relied upon.
Until now, the electronic versions of books Amazon made available to view on its Kindle e-reader were still acquired via the publishers, just as the paper versions always have been. But with the announcement that it will be offering a couple of books from best-selling author Stephen Covey exclusively in the Kindle Store, Amazon is looking to change all that.
Covey's print publisher is Simon & Schuster, but the electronic versions of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Principle-Centered Leadership will be published through Rosetta Books. It's reasonable to assume that Simon & Schuster thought it had the publishing rights to all forms of those books, so it's likely to be unimpressed with this development.
"This is the first time these books have been available in a digital format, and I'm happy to be able to offer them exclusively on Kindle," said Covey, who is the all-time 13th best-selling author on Amazon. "With so many readers using Kindle, this is a very effective way to reach people who want to easily download the books and begin reading them instantly."
This move could be viewed as a direct response to the settlement many authors and publishers made with Google, through which Google hopes to be able to electronically publish huge numbers of books. This is clearly a threat to Amazon and it presumably hopes that signing-up authors directly will provide an effective counter-attack.