As Amazon begins publishing books, worries accelerate about its massive impact on the industry.
...Given the tense relationship between bricks-and-mortar stores and Amazon, a number of agents expressed concern about the reach Amazon could have with print distribution. Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch told PW the nation’s largest bookstore chain would stock Amazon Publishing titles, with one major proviso: that it can sell both the print and the e-book. “We will not stock physical books in our stores if we are not offered the available digital format,” Lynch said. “Given Amazon’s recent push for exclusivity with agents and the authors they represent, we feel it’s important to be very clear about our position on content going forward.”
Independent booksellers willing to carry Amazon Publishing titles had some of their own conditions. Richard Goldman, co-owner of Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, Pa., said his store has sold some AmazonEncore titles after customers requested them, and if he could get Amazon Publishing titles through Ingram “at normal terms,” he would carry their books. “Generally our position on carrying a book is, if we can get it at 35% or better, and it’s returnable, we’ll order it.”
Potentially more troubling is that so few booksellers were familiar with Amazon Publishing. Sue David, at the Dubuque, Iowa, River Lights Bookstore, said she had not placed any fall orders because she hadn’t been apprised of the program, but “if there’s demand, or if [a title] makes the Indie bestseller list,” she will place orders. Jacqui Hasan, at the Fort Collins, Colo., Old Firehouse Books, does not know what Amazon’s terms are and has no account with the company, but would carry its books if it was publishing a major author.
Nonetheless, a number of independent booksellers said they will not sell Amazon books, no matter what. “We’re not doing that,” said Harvey Finkel at Clinton Bookshop in Clinton, N.J. “I’d love to stock their books and give them more money to put me out of business.” Other indie booksellers said they would order books from Amazon, at customers’ request, but would not dedicate any shelf space to Amazon titles. As Lisa Sharp at NightBird Books in Fayetteville, Ariz., said: “I hope not to [stock Amazon titles]. I mean, if somebody calls and wants one, I’ll order it, but I’m not going to keep it in the store.”...