The American Booksellers Association (ABA) is the latest body to join the slew of retailers Stateside boycotting books from Amazon’s publishing division.
The ABA is the USA’s national, not-for-profit trade association which exists to protect and promote the interests of its members: independently owned bookstores of all sizes, with storefront locations across the country.
Barnes & Noble announced last week that it was taking the noble decision to ban Amazon’s books from its 700+ US stores, off the back of Amazon seeking exclusive deals with publishers and associated parties.
“Barnes & Noble has made a decision not to stock Amazon published titles in our store showrooms,” said Jaime Carey, Chief Merchandising Officer and Barnes and Noble. “Barnes & Noble 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 eBooks to our customers.
“Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content,” he continued. “It’s clear to us that Amazon has proven they would not be a good publishing partner to Barnes & Noble as they continue to pull content off the market for their own self interest. We don’t get many requests for Amazon titles, but If customers wish to buy Amazon titles from us, we will make them available only online at bn.com.”
Whilst it was an interesting caveat to still offer Amazon titles online through its website, the message was clear nonetheless. Next to stick the boot in were Canadian booksellers Indigo and Books-a-Million,which held similar disdain for Amazon’s actions.
“In our view Amazon’s actions are not in the long-term interests of the reading public or the publishing and book retailing industry, globally,” said Indigo’s vice-president Janet Eger. “Indigo founder and c.e.o Heather Reisman has congratulated Barnes & Noble for taking a leadership stance on the matter, and offers kudos.”
Now, Publishers Weekly reports that the ABA-owned IndieCommerce, a for-profit company for independent booksellers, has removed all Amazon-published titles from its database. Matt Supko from IndieCommerce’s wrote to booksellers saying:
“While Amazon is seeking to distribute its print catalogue through conventional means, it seems that they are simultaneously pursing a strategy of locking in e-book exclusives which other retailers are not allowed to sell. IndieCommerce believes that this is wrong.”
To coincide with this, IndieCommerce has also initiated a new policy stating that “Only publishers’ titles that are made available to retailers for sale in all available formats will be included in the IndieCommerce inventory database.”
In May 2009 Amazon began its first foray in the publishing sphere launching AmazonEncore to “help readers discover exceptional books from emerging authors,” though it did announce that it would publish titles that have gone out-of-print.
Whilst the anti-Amazon sentiments are riding high, the real impact of these moves will be minimal, given the relative small scale of Amazon’s publishing division, and also given that the books are still for sale via one of the most popular retail avenues of all…Amazon.com.