On Sunday, May 20th, I said the following in a post talking about Simon & Schuster:
Giant printing presses are no longer the key to the kingdom of publishing. The large houses face competition on two fronts: from the Internet giants and from the e-publishing industry.
When I say Internet giants, I'm talking about Google, Amazon.com, Yahoo, eBay and Microsoft. Of the five, I suspect the biggest direct competition will come from either Google or Amazon.com. My money is on Amazon. The biggest dark horse IMHO is eBay.
As I mentioned last night, the Internet companies were the first to realize the power the Internet had to change the face of publishing. Both Google and Amazon started by offering to help traditional print houses market their print books. However, I don't think that either company will stop there. It is not a big stretch from marketing other companies' books to marketing original content yourself.
Amazon already owns a POD company and is developing an e-reading device capable of using different formats. Google already has its search engine for marketing and digitizing equipment. Either one could easily produce both print and e-books.
Well, three days after that post, Amazon is announcing the acquisition of Brilliance Audio, "the largest independent publisher of audiobooks in the United States" according to Investrend.
According to Amazon's press release dated 5/23/07: "The acquisition will enable Amazon to work closely with the book publishing community to further expand the number of books produced in audio format and provide customers with an even greater selection of audiobooks to find, discover and buy."
Keep an eye on Amazon.