Authors as Subscriptions

I received an email from Amazon today that began with:

We are happy to announce that an updated version of your past Kindle purchase of Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy is now available. The version you received had typos that have been corrected.

This is interesting on a couple of levels but particularly interesting in light of the coverage yesterday about Amazon’s quiet efforts around “book industry in a box” which essentially cuts publishers out of the book supply chain.

What Amazon is demonstrating is the capacity to deliver books as a form of digital subscription, which taken to an extreme would allow me to subscribe to an author’s works in incremental form, meaning delivered as they are developed.

Critics would say that the editing and promotional process that authors engage in with publishers results in better and more successful product however if you talk with people who have actually gone through it you find the results less than persuasive. The ability for authors (and musicians and artists and so on) to self-publish and self-promote at large scale using social technologies and digital distribution is beyond debate, the result of which will not be felt for many years but if history is a guide the far away future may not be that far out.

PS- Yes, I like Tom Clancy novels…