Thursday, February 2, 2012

IS AMAZON TRYING TO BURN THE BOOK INDUSTRY?


Photo borrowed from Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
I am one of those people who stops patronizing companies (and I do write and tell them I am doing so) when they do things I don't think are right. I never shop at Wal-Mart because of their anti-union activities and the employee abuses which have been reported and litigated for 20 years. I am no longer shopping at Lowes after they pulled ads from the TV show American Muslim. After Amazon started spending millions to avoid paying sales taxes in California and then learning of employee abuses in their warehouses, I stopped shopping on Amazon.

Not shopping on Amazon has been the most difficult decision to stick with and the main reason I ended up with a Nook and not a Kindle. Now Amazon is giving me more reason to stick with my position. It seems that the next move to be the only bookseller in the country is to get exclusive publishing rights to certain authors and to start publishing books themselves.

Barnes & Noble  has decided not to sell those books through their stores, saying: "Our decision is based on Amazon’s continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent. These exclusives have prohibited us from offering certain e-books to our customers. Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content."

An article published in Bloomberg  BusinessWeek reports that Jeff  Bezos, Amazon's founder, doesn’t care whether he loses money on books for the larger cause of stocking the Kindle with exclusive content unavailable in Barnes & Noble’s Nook or Apple’s iBookstores. He’s also got almost infinitely deep pockets for spending on advances to top authors. Even more awkwardly for publishers, Amazon is their largest retailer, so they are now in the position of having to compete against an important business partner. On the West Coast people cheerfully call this kind of arrangement coopetition. On the East Coast it’s usually referred to as getting stabbed in the back.

I completely understand that everyone in business needs to keep up with the new technology and be ready for the future ways of doing business, the lack of foresight was why my favorite bookstore, Borders, went out of business. They were great about carrying a huge range of old and new titles, but they missed the boat on the shift to e-readers.

I just hate to see the continued gobbling up of the whole industry by one company.  Especially one company which has continued it's march to dominance by treating employees poorly, undercutting authors, refusing to contribute it's fair share of taxes and generally shoving it's deep pocketed weight around.

4 comments:

hokgardner said...

Man, soon I'm not going to be able to shop anywhere. I've already given up Walmart, Sam's and Lowe's.

And Komen.

Tricia said...

So my gut reaction is, hey this will create censorship of what is available to read. This will limit "free press" to what Amazon wants or thinks we should read (Hello Big Brother). Then I thought well there is still the internet, but no, it is not a substitute for the ability to present and explain an idea the way a book can.
Isn't it a good thing if there is freedom of ideas and the ability to publish is held by many from diverse backgrounds?

shrink on the couch said...

I really do not get it - or people, I should say - for whom there's no such thing as enough money, enough of the market share.

writingtowellness said...

Ugh! I was just starting to simmer down over the Komen/Planned Parenthood idiocy ..