As I write this, folks all over the Internet are flaming Amazon for over-hyping its latest sales promotion, Prime Day.

Here are some choice tweets:

Amazon has gone crazy! I mean, 64% off Antarctic krill oil?
— John Aboud (@jaboud) July 15, 2015

Amazon sub-prime day.
— Brenda Kelly (@Brenda_Kelly) July 15, 2015

Amazon Prime Day? More like Amazon “let’s get rid of this excess inventory” Day
— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) July 15, 2015

The outrage is perhaps matched only by the recent uproar created amongst authors when Amazon announced that it would pay self-published Kindle Direct Publishing Select participants only for the pages that readers actually read of their books.

(Before you freak out, too, be sure to check out the rebuttal in this article.)

Hard to believe it, but 15 years ago, Amazon was just a hardscrabble online bookseller (albeit one already worth north of $16 billion.)

Meanwhile, the Kindle was just a twinkle in Jeff Bezos’ eye.

Sure, e-books existed, but they were a long ways away from mainstream popularity.

In fact, in 2000, Simon & Schuster was the first publisher to offer an original work by a major author exclusively in electronic form. (Can you name the author? The answer appears below.)

There were a number of other notable differences in the publishing landscape in the year 2000:

1. Borders was still a powerhouse bookseller
2. There were 10 or 15 publishing services companies, instead of ten times that
3. Random House’ headquarters were on the East side—rather than the West side—of Manhattan*

*I know this because that’s where I worked in the year 2000. Ask a New Yorker if it makes a difference; they’ll tell you East vs. West means everything!

All this hubbub got me thinking about doing a “State of the Union” for publishing for our next Authors Academy call this coming week. A lot has changed in 15 years, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m keeping my special guest under wraps for now, but watch your email for an invitation to listen in!

Bye for now,


Grael Norton
Wheatmark, Inc.