In an unprecedented series of overnight corporate acquisitions, Amazon.com purchased Google, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Author Solutions, Lulu.com, Bertelsmann, Inc., Macmillan, the New York Times Corporation, and 574 other publishing and newspaper related companies.
Google co-founder Sergei Brin is reported as saying “For a while, it looked like Google would be buying Amazon, but they made us an offer we dared not refuse.”
The publishing world is bracing for a exceptional period of transition, in which virtually all books, both paper and e-, will be under the thumb of this corporate giant. Industry analysts say that the resulting company, Amgoolubemacorp, will be able to take advantage of economies of scale, especially in the licensing of book rights from authors. “It’ll be the only game in town,” said Gene Gardner, former VP of Kensington, one of the companies that disappeared last night, taking his job with it. “Authors should get used to the idea that Amgool will adopt the ‘you pay us, we don’t pay you’ school of publishing.”
Also anticipated is the rapid transition to an advertising-based financial model, in which customers don’t pay for content but are forced to sit through endless commercials at short intervals while they read. “Ideally,” said a company spokeperson who wished to remain anonymous, “we’ll be able to set up a system in which the whole process, from content acquisition to customer purchase to ad generation, is totally automated, and we can do it without direct human intervention. We’ll all be able to go on permanent vacations. Those of us that survive the transition, that is.”
Contacted for a reaction to this surprise move by its former digital rival, Apple said it had no comment. But according to a source who asked to be kept anonymous, Apple representatives are currently in top-secret meetings with Random House, the lone holdout on the agency pricing model changeover that kicks in today, and the only major publisher to resist the Amazon takover.