Author Jaime Clarke’s new novel “Vernon Downs” will be available on Amazon in April of next year, but fans and new readers who heed the author’s plea can get a copy this December. His only request: Buy “Vernon Downs” straight from the publisher and not from Amazon.
In a Web site aptly named pleasedontbuymybookonamazon.com, Clarke lays out his call to support independent publishing and push back against the aggressive cost-cutting tactics of Amazon that, he says, are great for consumers but detrimental to the livelihood of independent publishing.
Clarke — who also published the novel “We’re So Famous,” edited and co-edited a number of other titles and was a founding editor of the Boston College-published literary magazine Post Road — is co-owner of an independent bookstore in Boston called Newtonville Books.
“As a bookstore owner, I see small presses come and go — they usually publish a book or two and then fold after running out of money,” Clarke writes. “For many small publishers like Roundabout, Amazon accounts for a large portion of sales, but the publisher realizes very little of the purchase price owing to Amazon’s discounting policies.”
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Q: 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?
Clarke: 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. 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.
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What will happen to independent publishers and bookstores as Amazon’s hold continues to solidify?
Clarke: 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. Books were incidental to their plans — books just happened to be sitting in warehouses across the country ready to be shipped. It could easily have been lawn furniture.
Now that Amazon is the Walmart of the Internet, it’s clear they want to take on technology service providers like Apple. They seem to be hanging around books and publishing mostly out of spite.
Link to the rest at CNet and thanks to Barron for the tip.
PG will limit himself to commenting that when a small publisher runs out of money and folds, its authors almost never get paid.