Andrew Wylie’s withering dismissal of Amazon Publishing as ‘characterized by its idiocy” seems to have left his target distinctly unwithered. At least if the reports in The Bookseller of its plans for a UK publishing program of 500 titles in 2014 alone are anything to go by. The report, quoting an Amazon internal memo shared with The Bookseller, talks of both titles acquired domestically and sourced from the U.S.
This buildout is part of the same program whose German dimension unleashed Wylie’s ire, which looks to add 200 German titles to the Amazon Publishing roster too. Furthermore, UK publisher Quercus Publishing, currently up for grabs in the publishing consolidation market, is mentioned in the article as a possible Amazon Publishing acquisition target. New hires mooted for the UK operation include a publisher and an acquisitions editor, with an eye to bringing on board even more UK titles. If this, as Wylie claims, is some kind of front operation designed to convince the world that Amazon is a real publishing operation, then it’s obviously a very sophisticated and well-funded one.
And if Wylie defines Amazon Publishing as characterized by idiocy, then there are obviously a lot of useful idiots around. Very useful indeed.