Amazon can't start selling the book until next April, according to Clark, after "Vernon Downs" has gone through the publishing process to get an official bar code. The author's move is just one more chapter in the "Amazon vs. Resting upon the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the decision has all but secured Amazon's position as the largest and most successful bookseller for years to come. Despite the fact that independent bookstores have been making a steady comeback as small businesses rebound in the strengthening economy, three independent East Coast bookstores have filed suit against Amazon and major publishers in an attempt to level the playing field.
President Barack Obama even got pulled into the debate after New England Independent Booksellers Association Director Steve Fischer late last month condemned the president for visiting an Amazon warehouse in the wake of the Apple e-book decision. In an interview with CNET on Friday, Clarke laid out his reasoning for why readers should shift support towards independent publishers -- even it if it means slightly higher prices -- and the current issues authors, publishers, and booksellers face in the rising e-book and Amazon era.
The following is an edited version of that conversation. Why would you urge people not to buy books, or at least your book, from Amazon? Is it simply that people should not buy books published from independent publishers on Amazon, or that people should avoid all book buying on Amazon because of what you think it's done to the industry? My campaign to urge interested readers to purchase my novel "Vernon Downs" directly from the publisher is mostly economical, which is to say small, independent publishers like Roundabout Press need all the capital they can lay their hands on.
Unfortunately, most indie publishers rely on Amazon to sell their books, and to quote F.
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Scott Fitzgerald, the price is high. Indie publishers realize a fraction of the purchase price and are at the mercy of Amazon's discounting policies. As a bookstore owner, my obvious preference is that readers buy books at bookstores, but I know a lot of readers don't live in proximity to a bookstore. Given Amazon's dominance, where do you see both the e-book market and physical book selling at large in five years time? Industry numbers have borne out what I suspect all along: The e-book market is the new audio book market.
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E-books are settling to be about 20 percent of the book market, which is what audio books were in the '80s and early '90s. I actually think e-books might be creating new readers, which isn't a bad thing. But people who love books, love books. And books have been around for years. A bigger threat is whether or not the current generation values the book. They'll be around, but will they be read? What will happen to independent publishers and bookstores as Amazon's hold continues to solidify?
Amazon has done all it's going to do to the industry, I think. It's interesting that Amazon's early ambitions were to be the Walmart of the Internet.
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But in a language where there are words for canceling an appointment at the last minute and the culture-specific condition of adult male shut-in syndrome, how can you be surprised? But we think tsundoku is particularly special: Oku means to do something and leave it for a while, says Sahoko Ichikawa, a senior lecturer at Cornell University, and tsunde means to stack things.
We all know one or two people who have this expensive but arguably harmless addiction harmless unless your surname is Collyer , that is. We might even look in the mirror and see it. Bibliotherapists Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin used to suffer from tsundoku , Elderkin says, before they began to cull their collections. They had a bad case: Books can be a status symbol.
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Perhaps they read the books in childhood or adolescence, or the book becomes a symbol of a certain time in their life. It is probably The Catcher in the Rye. Who could blame the Japanese for having this word?
Murakami books are awfully pretty, but those suckers can be long. Does anyone really read them?
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