Interesting Salon article on Am*zon’s sponsorship of many literary non-profits. Are they buying love? They’re definitely trying. $25,000 is a helluva donation to anyone never mind a small organization trying to get by on sales or membership fees. (The Brooklyn Book Fest recently asked if we’d like Small Beer to be profiled on their new sponsored-by-Amazon OnePage and we said no. I love the Brooklyn Book Fest, but that’s not a great fit for us.)
Keep in mind that books are a halo product for Amazon. They would much rather be thought of as a bookstore than a Walmart wannabe.
This part of the Salon article was great to hear:
For the first time, the “Big Six” publishers — HarperCollins, Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan — have refused to sign Amazon’s latest annual contract. The main sticking point is exorbitant increases in “co-op promotional fees” for e-books that the publishers see as an illegal gouge by another name. One person familiar with the details of the proposed 2012 contracts that Amazon has submitted to major New York publishers described them as “stupifyingly draconian.” In some cases, he said, Amazon has raised promotional fees by 30 times their 2011 cost. In saying no, the big publishers are following in the footsteps of the Independent Publishing Group, a major indie distributor representing dozens of small presses that refused Amazon’s increases earlier this winter and soon saw the “Buy” buttons on more than 4,000 of their titles promptly delinked.
I am still hopeful that Amazon will overreach and disappear. Not going to happen, but it makes the horrible headlines about what they are doing to who easier to deal with.
What really makes me unhappy is that high street shops may be pushed out of business and all of our shopping choices will become the same: big box chain stores or Amazon. Which is a crap choice given that most of Amazon’s workers work in warehouses—with goals I could not meet if I were working there—and Fedex and UPS (and warehouse robot suppliers) will be the only winners.
And here’s the Boston Globe being much cheerier, so yay for them.