[Marxism] As Publishers Fight Amazon, Books Vanish - NYTimes.com

Richard Fidler rfidler_8 at sympatico.ca
Sat May 24 18:20:52 MDT 2014


Perhaps it is appropriate to mention one way to counter the predatory
practices of Amazon that Richard mentions below.

In Ottawa, where I live, we have a fine radical bookstore, Octopus, which is
so successful that it opened a branch outlet a couple years ago in a
downtown location that it shares with a number of progressive think tanks
and NGOs, and where they share a meeting hall that is now the place where
most left groups meet (and Octopus hosts its book launches).

One reason for the success of Octopus, which was founded as a worker co-op
in the 1960s and is now privately owned, is that progressive profs urge
their students to purchase their books there. This is one of their primary
revenue sources. But another is that individual clients like myself who want
to order a book -- and don't need immediate delivery -- can order it through
Octopus. That gives them the normal 40% markup from publisher's cost, and
saves the buyer shipping costs (which in Canada can be quite high).

I'm sure that procedure could be widely replicated by the left elsewhere,
with great benefit to the smaller independent (and often progressive)
booksellers.

Richard Fidler

-----Original Message-----
From: Marxism [mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu] On Behalf Of
Richard Menec via Marxism
Sent: May-24-14 6:37 PM
To: rfidler_8 at sympatico.ca
Subject: Re: [Marxism] As Publishers Fight Amazon, Books Vanish -
NYTimes.com

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David Walters wrote: 

Now Amazon is doing to B&N what B&N did to Dalton (smaller book chains) and
the independents. 

I suppose others such as bookfinders.com and abebooks.com, by offering rarer
books, are doing the same thing. 

 

**Bookfinder.com was bought out by Abebooks long ago, and Abebooks was in
turn purchased by Amazon many years ago now.  When this happened thousands
of independently-minded booksellers left the Amazon/Abebooks behemoth, and
some of us set up our own online, multi-dealer sites.  One such site is the
IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers' Association); another is
www.tomFolio.com, the world's only international co-op of used booksellers.

 

Regardless of whether this sort of massive centralization of Amazon should
be a model for the future in some socialist utopia, it is no exaggeration to
say that Amazon puts thousands of booksellers out of business every year.
Today.  Now.  It is also increasingly clear to me that the independent
online alternatives which have sprung up are getting little or no book buyer
support their way.  While we are desperately trying various things to bring
in people to our sites, it seems that when people are hooked on something,
there's no turning back.

 

Richard Menec

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