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January 15, 2012

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SLD

Very interesting link to the story regarding plagiarism allegations in Amazon's self-publishing world ~ I hadn't run into it elsewhere. Litigation is often a no win situation but maybe Amazon would wake up and re-evaluate their policies re: plagerism detection if they had to start defending multiple small claims actions for copyright infringement damages all over the country. In my home state of California small claims lawsuits are pretty easy to instigate and offer redress at a fairly low cost to plaintiffs. To be clear: I do NOT advocate spurious lawsuits brought for the sole intention of harassment but if authors don't stand up for their rights (as in the examples cited in the MSNBC story) they probably, sadly, will be trampled upon.

Kari

I've been following your posts on this topic for several months and I pretty much agree with you and how you are choosing to do business against the amazon that is Amazon.

I am a very low tech person - no cell phone, no e-reader, no portable technology - and I'm under 40, lest anyone think I'm a grandmotherly type. I say this so you know that the paper book is very important to me. I don't think they are going away anytime soon, but I steadfastly prefer spending my time and money in a locally owned & operated store - browsing, asking questions, knowing I am supporting my community - these things are all important to me.

I'm not a big spender, but I am intentional about where I shop and I use my few dollars to support local whenever possible.

I do hope you find additional open support within your peers in the bookselling world, JB.

Regards,
Kari

Jim Thomsen

I don't agree with you, entirely, either, but:

1. I understand your protectionist stance. It's not your fault you work within a broken business model, and you probably can't change it on your own.

2. I love you guys, anyway, and want you to survive. So I'll keep dropping $500 or so each year with you, as I have been since the early nineties.

I appreciate your candor and your reasoning. And when I argue differently, it's because my protectionism tilts toward authors and their need and right to have a fair chance to make sustainable livings. Right now, the Amazon model accomplishes that much better than the traditional publishing-and-distribution model ... to which, unfortunately, you are inextricably intertwined.

It's not as simple as Amazon vs. booksellers. There are other players to consider.

See you soon for my next armload of books.

Don Munsil

OK, I've read all of these posts, and I have to say, respectfully, that I don't agree with you. Amazon is going to be Amazon. Their publishing wing, I guarantee you, is a small subgroup at Amazon that loves books and is trying to promote books and reading, and apparently independent bookstores, and your shunning them is not putting extra dollars in your pocket. Do you really want mystery authors holding their readings at University Bookstore or Elliott Bay or whoever is willing to work with Amazon? How does that help your store?

I'm sorry, but I think your distaste for Amazon is understandable, but it's a distraction. If you don't think you can survive as a business if Amazon is consistently undercutting your prices, then you need to close now and cut your losses. OTOH, if you have customers that are willing to pay the prices you need to charge to provide them with the service you provide, then you should stock stuff they'll like, no matter who publishes it.

Amazon, as a corporate entitity, doesn't care. You can keep fighting them, but is that helping?

I would like to believe that when the dust settles, there will be a workable business model for the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and other bookstores like it. If there is, your best bet is to focus on developing and nurturing that business model, and railing about Amazon and Nancy Pearl is not helping. And refusing to stock established mystery authors because you have a beef with their publisher seems like it's *really* not helping.

Again, JMHO. You do what you feel you must, obviously.

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