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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bringing Authors and Readers Together



Imagine being able to talk to the author of a book at the very moment you are reading it. Unless the author is your uncle sitting next to you at Thanksgiving dinner, the scenario seems unlikely. With today's cool technology, however, now it's a reality!

Amazon's new feature @author, allows readers to ask questions directly from their Kindles which are sent to the author's Twitter account, as well as to the writer's home page at Amazon! Amazon's cool new technology is aimed at creating a reader community online, focusing on Kindle titles.

While publishers worry that they will be cut out of the connection, authors are cheering for a chance to improve their brand and build a stronger fan following. If you've ever tried to write to an author through the publisher's contact information, you know that messages and questions to authors rarely get passed on. Now the relationship can be more intimate and even instant. Some publishers are still furious that anyone can sell their independent books online and make a fortune without their help. Amazon is truly changing the publishing industry.

John Locke (not the bald guy from "Lost", but a businessman who started writing Kindle novels and is the first author to sell more than a million ebooks online), recently signed an unusual contract with Simon & Schuster, which allows him to continue selling his ebooks while the publisher handles marketing and sales of the print versions. This unique deal is a perfect example of how the balance of power in the traditional publishing world has shifted, creating a need for both authors and publishers to adapt to new changes.

The @author feature is an expansion of Amazon's social-networking-style program for Kindle which invites readers to "follow" other readers and see which books they like and have commented on. Amazon is hoping that readers will answer questions for the authors as well and create a virtual hang-out on their site. Technology continues to bring together readers and authors in new ways. Any time more people are reading and talking about books is always a good thing!