Canadian bookstore chain Indigo has added its voice to Barnes & Noble and Books a Million in stating that it will not carry books published by Amazon’s publishing imprint, the Globe and Mail reports. Indigo issued the standard statement decrying Amazon’s predatory tactics and congratulating Barnes & Noble for “taking a leadership stance on the matter.” Not too surprising, especially given that Indigo was the creator of Kobo, one of the only serious e-book competitors Amazon has.
The Globe and Mail article characterizes this as a “setback” for Amazon, and quotes the Wall Street Journal that this is “sending a signal” to authors, agents, and publishers who might have been considering signing such agreements. It refers to authors “whose upcoming work will become inaccessible to the majority of North American book buyers.”
Say what? “Inaccessible”? “Majority”? I don’t think that those words mean what you think they mean. Going by Foner Books’s sales statistics, Amazon did more book, music, and DVD business in 2011 than Barnes & Noble, the late Borders, and BN.com put together. Seems like the “majority” of North American book buyers shop Amazon.
Anybody who has “access” to the Internet has access to Amazon. (Or, for that matter, BN.com, where Barnes & Noble will carry Amazon’s books.) And those who don’t should still be able to check the books out from the local library, which might lead to liking them enough to order them.
(Granted, there are some people who don’t—every so often in my day job I run across the proverbial little old man or lady who doesn’t have a computer or the Internet and so can’t download the manuals for our TVs from our website. But they’re considerably in the minority by now—and even if they don’t have Internet at home, they could place orders from a library or Internet café if they wanted it badly enough.)
Of course, there is something to be said for being able to run across the books while physically browsing a store. Losing that will be a disadvantage for Amazon, which might be part of why it’s rumored to be considering its own chain of brick and mortar stores. But on the other hand, the high-profile authors Amazon is courting will have a high level of demand independent of accidental browsing discoveries, which could help render that loss irrelevant.
(Found via The Digital Reader.)