Booksellers Asked to Encourage Authors to Ban Amazon.Com

October 9, 2008
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October 9 – 16, 2008 Edition Booksellers Asked
to Encourage Authors
to Ban Amazon.Com

Dearborn, MI (Authorlink, Oct. 7, 2008)–Great Lakes Independent Booksellers were told by the association’s outgoing president Carol Besse at their fall trade show October 3-5 that authors should disable any links they have on their websites to Amazon.com and "get out there in front" of store patrons to explain why consumers shouldn’t buy from the online retailer.

Besse called for a "grassroots effort to re-educate every author they meet about the importance of buying books from independents rather than from Amazon.com. She said it’s a matter of survival and qualify-of-life for entire communities.

Besse pointed out that booksellers in the Great Lakes area are already battling economic depression, skyrocketing unemployment and home foreclosures. Now, they are faced with competition from Amazon.com. She criticized Chelsea Green Publishing for making its recent release, Obama’s Challenge, available exclusively on Amazon.com for two weeks after its publication date. She also took issue with Jonathan Alter, a Newsweek journalist, for publishing his anthology, Between the Lines, exclusively through Borders Street Press, to be available only in Borders and Waldenbooks stores. 

She told conference attendees not to expect publishers to become allies of independent booksellers. She said indies should "work with" but not "depend on" publishers to support independents. She apologized for painting a grim picture and added "I think we’re entering a grim time." 

Besse is outgoing board president of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and co-owner of Carmichael’s Books in Louisville, Kent, KY.  She spoke at a Saturday breakfast before about 200 booksellers at the fall trade show in Dearborn, MI.

The rising cost of books mean booksellers have to sell twice as many books to make the same income as in the past. But they were generally upbeat, saying people are definitely still reading.

(Editor’s Note: A number of sources indicate that Amazon.com is trying to woo independent publishers and authors to work only with Amazon in an end-to-end domination of the supply chain. The brazen strategy includes a highly-criticized move to require authors and publishers to print their titles with Amazon-owned BookSurge, or risk losing their ability to offer books for sale on Amazon.com. At press time we were trying to reach Carol Besse to tell us more about her and her Association’s findings.) 

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