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June 22, 2011



I stopped buying books (or anything) from Amazon.com. In fact, I haven't bought anything from them for the past two years. I don't visit their website. I don't read their "reviews."

Am I paying more for my books than someone like Dave? Yes.

For the sake of transparency, I once worked for B&N as a receiving manager. I still frequented independents during my B&N employment, for books that the big box book retailers wouldn't or couldn't get. My household also has an e-book reader (Nook), although the wife uses it. I don't. I like the tangibility of a physical book, as does my child.

I am no neo-Luddite, but share Z's concerns about electronic books. Not only are there software/hardware issues, but what about the environmental issues that accompany them? Yes, "traditional books" also have environmental considerations, but don't pretend e-books don't. Heavy metals from discarded readers. Larger and larger server farms needed for all of those electronic devices, their "cloud" storage, and their wireless connections. Et cetera.

It's a complicated issue, or, rather, set of issues. I, for one, however, come down on the side of the independent. They're in your/my neighborhood. They are your/my neighbors. They pay their taxes. They contribute back to the community in ways that a behemoth cannot. It's about more than money. It's about relationship.

Tiger Gray

I don't work for anyone (least of all Amazon) and I've got to go with Dave on this one. E-books for the win. I like a physical books in some cases but the people who romanticize print often seem to forget it's the information and your ease of access to it that should trump all.

Austin Briggs

Wow, what a dilemma! A fight between the ways of life, with a author caught in the middle.

I understand your motivation, but I'm not sure I support your decision to block out a small author. This seems to be the case of throwing the baby with the water.

Like it or not, but Amazon is the future, and it's already here. You can't survive by fighting it.

I normally make the point of buying books from small independent stores whenever I can; but knowing that you turn away authors as a strategy to fight Amazon would make me think twice before stepping into your door.

I don't know how you can find a way to co-exist with such a successful competitor, but I wish that cooperation in support of authors could be the beginning.

Amazon is a "universe" which is allowing many small businesses to succeed. Can you find a way to succeed with it?

peter m herford

You are a bookseller, one I have used. Censorship from a bookseller?
You arbitrarily cut off books from a publisher because you consider a competitor "evil"; when there is evidence that the "evil competitor" may be reaching out to you and other booksellers and helping you survive? As one comment put it: A mystery boo store without Ed McBain? Why not let your clients make the decisions of what they want to read, and continue to serve them with their choices, not yours?


Amazon is author friendly until they aren't. As an author who has tried for more than a year to convince Amazon they have violated my copyright by refusing to remove unauthorized Kindle editions of my first two novels, I can testify that Amazon can be author-hateful, intransigent, deceitful and dismissive. Is it censorship to refuse to carry an Amazon imprinted title? The argument is specious. Censorship would involve preventing Amazon's ability to publish. Refusing, in a perfectly reasonable act of self-preservation, to aid Amazon with distribution does not even enter the realm of censorship; it merely puts Amazon in the same position as any other publisher: they must make the case for why a retail outlet should carry their product. They have not made that case convincingly. Resisting Amazon is not about resisting technological progress, either. Every tool Amazon offers is available from other sources, without the dubious ethics inseparable from the Amazon brand.


Reading can be an inexpensive hobby if you do not read like I do - averaging one book per day = 365 or more books per year. I have my library and ran out of room for books! So I bought an e-reader for my fiction. I have not had it very long- about 3 months and already have over 200 books on it. What I can't stand is paying the same price for an ebook and a regular paperback. Plus the paperback is discounted and sometimes even half of the list price! Is the author getting a bigger percentage of the sale price? I doubt it. And the publisher does not do a good job of proofreading/formatting the e-text.

So yes I still prefer the physical book. And I love bookstores. But I get new leads on authors I have not read by reading author and publisher blogs/websites on the internet. It is so easy to click on a link right then and buy the book and have it instantly delivered. I don't have to worry about senior moments when I go to the book store and forget my list!

So I think most of us are correct on this list. Amazon is greedy and helpful both - I am not sure I trust them completely. E-books are wonderful. Regular books are wonderful. The fact is READING is wonderful anyway you do it!!!!!


After reading all these comments, I've decided to never buy from independent stores again. You don't like Amazon, fine, but taking it out on the authors who are the most important part of the entire chain, is unforgivable.

I don't care where a writer publishes as long as I can get the book. Readers, Books Store owners, and publishers should be kissing the ass of every author who graces you with a book.

Learn your place people.


I work in acquisitions for a University Press. We're not doing as much with e-books as we were expecting to do a year ago, not because we don't have them, we do, but because the demand hasn't been there. In my market, anyway. I know it's not the same in trade.

With that said, in one of our numerous 'what are we doing with e-books' meetings, as we were trying to sort out how we would sell these e-books, and maintain our copyrights and collect on permissions for all the material that is bound to get hacked as soon as it goes online, our president came right out and said, "I'd be just as happy if we had one customer, and it was Amazon."

Of course, we all gasped, and clutched our Starbucks coffees. "You can't be serious," an older editor said.

"Why not?" Was his reply. "They're not over-ordering and gouging us on returns. They order what they need, and we get paid on time. It's perfect."

The fact is, Amazon, for all my big business woes, is good at what they do. They're unlikely to close and leave accounts owing like some smaller bookstores, and they don't leave us sitting on a pile of unsold merchandise when the Christmas rush is over.

Of course, this mainly refers to print format. And this isn't Seattle Mystery's fault. But it's why Amazon is king. They're effective.

And I hate to say it, but indie bookstores aren't in any position to be shunning book launches, dependent on the publisher, even if it is their biggest competitor/threat. Launches bring in customers. They need those to survive. It's a bit like cutting off the leg to save the foot.

Ss   Powell

Dave, I am so sorry. We have seen this before and it was called "Wall Mart". Wall Mart treats its workers with disdain. Then there was the Electric car and GM and Ford beat it off, and then, along came Honda and Toyota.
I am worried that Amazon does not pay very much to the writers. When they kill are the independents, they will pay less. I guess its ebooks for me, ordered from bookstores, hopefully.


If you are only interested in getting the books at the cheapest price go to Amazon. anything beyond (such as signings, expertise, honest recs) go elsewhere while you still can. Amazon vowed to put the indie bookstores out of business and they are doing their damndest to accomplish that.

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