I am much more excited about the move by Amazon toward publishing than by Franco's new book.
Franco is a decent writer and a decent actor, but Amazon is setting the literary world on fire with its ever increasing volume of ebooks and now, by stepping into a world formally bought and paid for by traditional publishing companies, is taking direct at them.
Amazon has reportedly been selling slightly more eBooks than print editions for the past year, so it makes sense they would seek to increase their sales by recruiting more quality writers. (I will not take aim at Franco's literary skills--they are what they are.) This makes sense from a marketing point of view, especially when you consider the success of some ebook authors who, while publishing a decent story idea fail to deliver the sort of literary quality that attracts a great number of readers.
I have talked about my disdain for churning out ebooks just for the sake of churning out ebooks before. This is nothing new coming from me. As far as Amazon's new publishing wing, only time will tell whether or not they can increase the quality of their offerings through a more selective process. But it gives me hope.
As long as Amazon continues to offer a simple solution for self-publishers there is no danger to the existing ebook trade. By offering higher quality published work Amazon might be able to raise its profile from being a peddler of self-promotional material (a vanity publisher, at best) to being a true purveyor of literature.
This would be great for everyone who loves to read, providing a fresh perspective when it comes to who gets published, how and where. And would no doubt be great for Amazon's business, as well.
Yesterday, the New York Observer reported that James Franco has sold his first novel—and not to Scribner, which published his story collection, but to the fairly new publishing wing of Amazon. Cue, predictably, the eye-rolling: “a New Year has never truly dawned without announcement of something that James Franco is doing,” wrote Sean O’Neal at the A.V. Club (sarcastically, in case that’s not immediately clear). Amazon’s publishing wing, O’Neal says, “threatens to upend traditional publishing models forever, which is something they probably said to James Franco, probably in a wild-eyed and flamboyant manner they thought he might find attractive.” O’Neal also poked fun at the tentative title for the book, Actors Anonymous, and the novel’s reportedly autobiographical nature.
Click here to read more about James Franco's new publishing deal from Slate.com