Amazon and Tablets

A column article, Mission: Professional by: Steven Savage

Keep Your Eye On Amazon.

Sadly, this column is not about Wonder Woman. It's about the other Amazon, the one who sells books and near everything else.

In case you haven't heard, and it's one of the worst-kept secrets in the Geekonomy, Amazon is going to be releasing their own tablets.

This has been bouncing around for months. The upshot seems to be Amazon is releasing their own tablets, Android-driven. Amazon has its own streaming service, its own App store, its own cloud system (the hosting service EC2 could easily be repurposed to duplicate iCloud). Oh, and there's a book service - you're kinda familiar with Kindle, of course.

This is big news for Apple of course, because Amazon will make a credible competitor - and has services Apple doesn't support right now. This is big news for Microsoft because they're still figuring out how to build their own ecosystem. This is big for Google, who likes to provide enough services to keep everyone hopping and keep a strong presence.

It's also big news for people who work in comics because this will give Amazon a color device. That means a lot for comics because this means a company that started as a book distributor, that has a self-publishing system, will now have a system good for color comics.

Of course it's possible that, being Android based, they won't do anything. After all there's things like ComiXology and other Android apps. Amazon could let that just keep going.

I'm not buying it.

Amazon has their hands in everything else (in a way, much like Google). Comics may not seem to be a larger market than many, but they are profitable, have a dedicated audience, and of course Amazon has a publishing and delivery system.

So simply, I think Amazon is going to try to get into comics:

  1. They could do their own comic publishing app and get a slice of the e-comics market. They could just purchase someone and get that easily - after all, they've got plenty of money coming in.
  2. They could make deals to turn TPBs into e-comics. Think of what they sell right now, and what could happen if they had e-TPBs. Think of how some companies may react to the opportunity?
  3. They have a self-publishing system already. How fast could they convert over to a full-scale color comics system printed and on their tablets?
  4. They have the chance to do all sorts of media distribution tie-ins no one else could do.

And you, future and current comics pro? They're going to disrupt your profession and plans -perhaps in a good way - but disrupt it they will.

  1. They will change how people reach the market - you need to know how.
  2. They will change your opportunity for publishing, likely enabling more.
  3. They will disrupt other comics publishers and opportunities with their choices - changing how companies reach each audiences, and affecting competitors in the comics markets.
  4. They will get other "Ecosystem" companies wondering what they should do about comics, if anything.

So Amazon? Tablet? Keep watching.

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