I watch anything that happens with Amazon with interest. Amazon recently hired Larry Kirshbaum it is new publishing division. While Kirshbaum has not signed any big name fiction authors, he has signed some deals with authors whose books will sell on name recognition alone. For example, every basketball coach in the country will at least read the product description for coaching legend Bob Knight's forthcoming book with Amazon.
Amazon has found itself in an interesting position of competing with its product providers, the Big Six legacy houses, and is working to find a way to sell the paper versions of its books. Needless to say, the Big Six are getting a kick out of this.
What they don't understand is Bezos has long demonstrated a long view process of his business model. Losing money today is fine with Bezos if it means he controls the product for the e-book market five to seven years from now. One has to wonder if over time Bezos plans to sign enough big name fiction authors to allow him to effectively corner the market on e-book fiction, providing a way to either eliminate competition from the Big Six for dictate to them the terms of their survival.
Bloomberg Businessweek has run an interesting and thoughtful story about Kirshbaum's hiring and the ramifications it has for the industry in general and Amazon in particular. The link is below. It is an interesting read.