Wednesday, June 05, 2013

OMG! Island Books Has Been Stalked by Amazon!

I just read this in today's edition of "Shelf Awareness" and I was dumbfounded!
What could Amazon be thinking, trying to get great bookstores like Island Books to pimp Kindles and Kobo electronic readers for them? I really wish I'd been a fly on the wall when Nancy Page gave them a piece of her mind! Go Nancy!

Amazon's Wild Pitch to Indies: 'Wanna Sell Kindles?'

Last week, Skylight Books , Los Angeles,
Calif., posted an intriguing blog entry about a phone call the shop had
received from a supposed representative of Amazon,  who apparently "was given the task of reaching out to independent
bookstores in order to 'build' a 'relationship' with the indies in order
to 'partner' with us in a program to sell Kindles in our store... yeah,

Was the call genuine? Immediate online reaction leaned toward the
skeptical side,
including a post at the Stranger noting "they have no proof that the
caller was actually calling from Amazon."

But we now know for sure that Amazon has approached at least one other
independent bookseller about selling Kindles. Roger Page, co-owner of
Island Books, 

Mercer Island, Wash.,
was standing near his wife, Nancy, when she fielded a call like the one
made to Skylight Books. "I believe they mentioned the word Kobo and said
they could offer competitive prices," he said, adding that he suspected
the caller was "somebody low down on the totem pole" and describing
Nancy's response as "very firm."

Because Island Books is located near Seattle and many Amazon employees
live in the area, he also noted that it is not unusual for the company
to sound him out occasionally regarding various issues, so the recent
call was not surprising. "I think this is how they test out ideas," he
said. "A lot of these guys know me." When he heard about Amazon's
telemarketers possibly contacting Skylight and other indies nationwide
to discuss the Kindle option, however, he said, "That is a little

Yesterday, the Stranger returned with an update
Although, as expected, the online retailer had not responded to a
request for more information, other booksellers checked in to say they
had also been contacted and one provided an e-mail address they were
given over the phone.

Writing to the address generated an auto-reply, which resembled "a
number of Kindle-centric 'Field Sales Representative'
job listings on their site to promote local retail sales of Kindles. If
this really is a new initiative of Amazon's, and it increasingly looks
like it is a real thing, I don't expect it to go very well. I've never
met an independent bookseller who has even ambivalent feelings about
Amazon. They all hate Amazon, with a passion that they never could
manage to muster for Barnes & Noble. I almost feel sorry for these
Kindle telemarketers," the Stranger wrote.

I have a history with Island Books because the store itself is right in front of the offices of the Mercer Island Reporter, where I worked on staff for 8 years. I used to take nearly every check across the parking lot to Island Books and buy books, pens, reading glasses, toys for Nick and even chocolate from Cindy, Nancy, Roger and the rest of the great booksellers at that store. I grew to know and love the place as if it were my second home. I can't imagine they'd ever sell electronic readers for Amazon, that gulper of book buyers, because they have been such a detriment to the community book store, which is holy ground for those of us who love physical books and read them religiously. I hope that Island Books stands firm against online retailers and their electronic devices for many years to come!

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