From The Seattle Times:
In this city famous for its independent bookstores and pungent coffee shops — brick-and-mortar institutions that value touch, taste and long, rainy afternoons — a high-profile conflict about the business of selling e-books has left many readers feeling conflicted.
Their dilemma: balancing an addiction to the convenient and wallet-friendly services of the local Internet giant with their devotion to the local literary culture.
“I’ve spent more on Amazon just to support them just because everyone was boycotting them,” said Peg Manning, an Orcas Island resident and self-described Amazon junkie who also loves wandering into her local bookstore with her granddaughter.
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Because of its status as the largest distributor of books, Amazon’s tactics in the Hachette dispute have grabbed headlines and polarized consumers and authors. One national survey indicates some consumers are voting with their wallets — against Amazon — and an informal poll in Seattle shows the issue playing out at cash registers here, too.
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Small contradictions — the Amazon lover who also supports the local bookstore, and the Amazon skeptic who still buys e-books for his Kindle — point to internal conflicts for readers who are becoming more and more aware of their purchasing power.
It’s a classic case of convenience versus conscience.
At a recent gathering of Seattle’s Meetup Book Club, for readers in their twenties and thirties, 11 members were split between those who prioritize convenience and those who view Amazon’s business practices as monopolistic and strong-arm.
But even during a civil discussion among the reasonable book-clubbers, it became clear this is a touchy subject in the land of Amazon.
One member, his Kindle resting on the table in front of him, said he was an ex-Amazon employee. He didn’t say much else. Down the table, a woman called Amazon a book bully, citing concerns about the company’s growing power. She emailed later asking that her name not be used because she works in tech and doesn’t want to limit future job opportunities.
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Local writer Lyanda Lynn Haupt, a Hachette author who says her book sales have been affected, claims Amazon’s tactics stifle “ideas and art and a marketplace” because “they are not working in the interest of authors.”
“Amazon’s reach is just so much farther than it should be …,” she said. “It can be really harmful and restricting to authors’ projects.”
Still, Haupt has $150 in Amazon gift cards from friends, and she plans to use them.
Bainbridge Island novelist Jonathan Evison, who spends at least $100 at independent bookstores each month, takes more of a hard-line approach to Amazon, which he believes is seeking world domination (though he has friends who work at the company, and “they’re good people”).
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“I am like 99.99 percent of the consumers out there,” said local author Robert Dugoni, who was previously published by Hachette but is currently under contract with Thomas & Mercer, one of Amazon’s publishing imprints. “I will always look for a product at the best price and the most convenient way of buying it. It’s hard to pass up the opportunity to sit at your computer, buy a product, and have it delivered to your home two days later.”
Link to the rest at The Seattle Times