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June 23, 2011

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Lelia Taylor

It's interesting that JB's initial premise, that he doesn't want to sell books from Amazon's own printed books imprints, has morphed into slams against him regarding the ebook world. People, he didn't say he objects to or is afraid of ebooks--he doesn't want to sell Amazon's PRINT imprints at least partly because that would require purchasing them, thus handing money over to Amazon.

Is it really so hard to understand why a brick & mortar bookseller doesn't want to do business with Amazon? As an analogy, would you expect a local hardware store (the few that still exist) to purchase their goods from Home Depot or Lowe's for re-sale?

Physical bookstores of all sizes, indies as well as chains, have to make choices every day because they cannot possibly stock every book printed. Doesn't each store have the right to make its own business decisions? Yes, feelings will be hurt and feathers will be ruffled but, as the saying goes, you can't please everyone.

Lori Tuttle

What do you think of Pottermore?

JRTomlinAuthor

The world as you knew it is changing and you hate it. That is all you are saying with comments such as, "How can you call yourself a bookseller and not sell books? "

What you are saying is that when I read Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall as an eBook I wasn't really reading a book and I wasn't really reading.

You seriously need to rethink what books are. Did they stop being books when they were no longer written on scrolls? No... They haven't stopped being books now that most fictin sales are digital.

When I and others told you change or die, we were just telling you the truth.

Your anger and resentment isn't going to help and by boycotting authors who DARE to do business with someone you don't approve of, all you do is drive away customers.

But you're hurting yourself much much more than you hurt anyone else.

Matt Briggs

There is also a thread going on at the Slog about the movement to charge for readings...

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/06/23/should-bookstores-charge-for-readings

Matt Briggs

Amazon has little to do with Seattle Mystery Bookshops "problems."

The Web supports a scale-free network. This structure offers for writers and readers a richer and really more accessible framework than the old school herky jerky mode represented even by beloved bookstores such as Elliott Bay, City Lights, or Seattle Mystery Bookstore. I discover fantastic writers (and readers) all of the time who would not be visible if not for the Web. Yes it is a fundamental change and this change is disruptive. Just because it is rooted in a change in technology I don't think it is necessarily all positive either, or that like some kind of economic social Darwinism, do I support survival of the fittest. It would be awesome if the companies that are benefitting form this change, such as Amazon, would help brick and mortar stores such as Elliott Bay, City Lights, or Seattle Mystery Bookstore through this change. Alas that isn't how businesses work. JB's fear and anger seems appropriate (if misdirected) and more it is futile. It begs the issue how to the customer's of a bookstore help the bookstore survive? While buying books at the store seems to be obvious answer, that just isn't how retail works. [In fact that has been the entire problem with fair trade as well hasn't it?] It almost seems like it would be make sense for someone to come up with a kind of kit based on research of what works that helps bookstores through the transition to ebooks. My instinct tells me that the physical, communal space for books will be even more valuable after ebooks than before. Maybe I'm wrong. But if it is more valuable, a business model can be built on it. My probably won't come true prediction for bookstores is that almost all of the ones rooted in the current model will die once ebooks are common (at a certain point there just won't be print runs that include hard copy books), and then a new type of physical space associated with books will be established. For instance, there are still stationary stores, but they are not like stationary stores back in the days of the post office, typewriter, and ink well.

Jim Thomsen

Even though I don't completely agree with you, I will continue to do what I've always done:

a) buy all the in-print and out-of-print books I can find at Seattle Mystery Bookshop and my other favorite Seattle-area indie bookstores.

b) buy self-published e-books via the Kindle Store, and out-of-print stuff I can't find elsewhere at Amazon.com.

Cara Ellison

JB,

I empathize, but people don't worry about Goldman Sachs being "too big." And Amazon is not a global bank with its fingers in everyone's business.

I'm a writer, and I still think the Big Six is the way to go for authors. One of the Big Six is currently reading my manuscript now, and if the stars line up, she'll buy it. It is *hard* work trying to get published by them. You are cut short every turn. You have to get the right editor at the right house on the right day. And hopefully things turn out.

The lure of Amazon and other self-publishing ventures is that its so easy. No agent to tell you no. No editor to say no fifty times. You imagine there is a world of readers just dying to get their hands on your work. But the reality is quite different. Those gatekeepers - agents, editors - are keeping out a lot of garbage.

The two self-published ebooks I've bought have been horrid affairs with spelling mistakes, every cliche in the book, and just plain bad writing.

I think for snobs like myself, the Big Six will always be the gold standard.

I'll buy an ereader. And I do shop at Amazon - quite a lot, actually - but I also realize that Amazon has its place. It will never replace Random House. So I think your job is safe.

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