Amazon Continues to Disintermediate Publishers

What if you could ask the author of a book a question while you were reading the book? That’s the kind of world Amazon wants to offer with its new @author feature, which the online bookstore launched on Wednesday with a group of writers who include Susan Orlean and self-help guru Tim Ferriss. Readers can ask questions directly from their Kindles while they are reading a book, and the question gets sent to the author’s Twitter account as well as to their home page at Amazon. In addition to creating what the company hopes will be a kind of reader community around Kindle titles—something it has been pushing in other ways as well—this new feature looks like another step in Amazon’s quest to cut publishers out of the equation and build relationships directly with authors.

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