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The Four-Hour Author Now Poster Child For End of Books

The holidays are a battleground for the publishing industry.

Look, I don't want to be the guy who writes about holiday shopping before the presidential election is over, but I sat through three different Santa Claus-themed Mercedes commercials while watching football on Sunday, so here we go anyway.

The holidays are a battleground for the publishing industry. Give a Kindle device and you've given a gift to the actual recipient and to Amazon. Give a Nook and you deserve a thank-you card from Barnes and Noble.

Or you could give an actual book. Like a book book. With pages.

Whatever you do, you're making a statement. The Amazon vs. other booksellers large and small battle is serious business by now, and Timothy Ferriss, author of "The Four-Hour Workweek," "The Four-Hour Body" and now "The Four-Hour Chef" is the latest win for Amazon. "The Four-Hour Chef" is an Amazon book and The New York Times reports that the booksellers and publisher that gave him success aren't taking it well.

Now that publication is at hand, that future looks messy and angry. Barnes & Noble, struggling to remain relevant in Amazon’s shadow, has been emphatic that it will not carry its competitor’s books. Other large physical and digital stores seem to be uninterested or even opposed to the book. Many independent stores feel betrayed by Mr. Ferriss, whom they had championed. They will do nothing to help him if it involves helping a company they feel is hellbent on their destruction.

“At a certain point you have to decide how far you want to nail your own coffin shut,” said Michael Tucker, owner of the Books Inc. chain here. “Amazon wants to completely control the entire book trade. You’re crazy if you want to play that game with them.”


Photo via Flickr (cc) user brewbooks.

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