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Book Wars, Chapter Twelve — 5 Comments

  1. Hi Ted! Thank you for linking to my post. Amazon’s manipulations toward a monopoly is scary for everyone (sellers, readers, writers and publishers). They’ve been a wonderful friend to writers and small publishers the last few years. But I don’t want them to be the one and only. I want B&N to succeed. I just think the way they’re trying to do things right now hurt the consumer more so than Amazon. They need a better plan. Wish I had one that I could give to both of them for a compromise that would work for us all. 🙂

    • Rhonda –
      One of the problems of monopolistic markets (which is our economy, in my opinion) is that businesses can’t compromise. Stockholders and the need for survival require them to take no prisoners, brook no halfway measures. The idea of getting along is anathema. It’s totally foolish and short-sighted but it’s the world big business demands. It’s the lure of control, which screws up our world so many different ways.

  2. Before going into the brick & morter stores, which is a huge investment in non-turn over merchandie before one book is sold Amazon should explore a sounder market. My suggestion is libraries, most of which add to their collections by using subscription purchases. There are several companies around that supply this market either for lease (multiple copies) or purchase.
    Operating a bookstore require more than just having books. On page 33 of Writing as a Small Business we did a cost analysis for just such a venture using real 2007 figures from Cincinnati, OH.
    Nash Black

    • My suspicion is that Amazon is willing to lose money on stores in order to accomplish their goal, which seems to be gaining dominance over the book business. We’ll see how it all plays out.

  3. Love your last graf! Well said, Ted, well said. I agree that anything that supports the primacy of books and stories is a good thing. Bringing more players into the bricks and mortar side of things is certainly a personal preference (nay, passion) of mine!

    However, I read some wise words a few weeks ago, which said essentially that Amazon may not realize what they’re in for. There’s a reason the big 6 and bookstores operate as they do. These are some of the smartest book folks I’ve ever met–and the problems they’re trying to solve are HARD. Tricky edits. Weary authors. Plot twists that don’t quite work. Distribution, overages, and the almighty “Nobody knows [what sells].” Once Amazon is wading in those waters, they might see that bookselling–and publishing–is different than selling Aloe Vera lotion at the best price. I hope they’re up for it, because I welcome new players. But I wouldn’t underestimate those who have been in the game for longer.

    Thanks for the piece!

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