Amazon–The New Godzilla of the Book Business

Amazon – the new Godzilla.  The hostility in the book world to Amazon is bordering on the irrational. One week ago I released my first book, In Broad Daylight, as an e-book on Amazon. I sent notices to a long e-mail list of friends and acquaintances in the writing world. I made one mistake: I sent the notice to an owner of a very successful independent bookstore. The owner had been very helpful in the promotion of my last book, and I had developed great admiration and respect for him and the role he played in the bookselling world.

The response I received him shocked me at first: he proclaimed that he would have nothing to do with any author who sold e-books on Amazon or who in any way  supported Amazon. Amazon was trying to dominate the publishing industry. When it opened its warehouse, it paid its workers minimum wage. We, the authors, would one day soon find ourselves working for Amazon, and thus for paltry wages.

I felt terrible; this was a good man who was seeing the book industry he knew, and more particularly his bookstore, under threat. The world as he knew it, as New York publishers saw it, was tumbling down.  But his response to refuse to have anything to do with anyone who supported or was involved with Amazon was irrational. If literally enforced, he would carry very few books, since almost all publishers sell their books on Amazon.  (What particularly galls the New York publishers is the fact that Amazon had come after the last piece of the puzzle: publishing books themselves.)

I understand, and sympathize with the publishers’ and the independent bookseller’s position, but is the answer to boycott writers’ who sell their books on Amazon? As writers, we must, as the evolutionary slogan goes, either adapt or perish.

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