This post, by Jane Friedman, originally appeared on her site on 4/26/12.
As the market evolves, Amazon is becoming a home for readers.
Say what? “A home for readers?” The Evil Amazon? Did the jungle drums just miss a beat?
There is so much for readers to do on Amazon – so much book-related content for them to peruse before buying.
There it was again. I could swear I just heard a friendly word for Seattle.
We have to ask ourselves, with the collapse of physical retail for books, which company will book suppliers want to deal with most? Just as iTunes supplanted record stores, Amazon is supplanting bookstores. Of all the bookselling options out there, only the remaining indie bookstores and B&N are more “bookish.” Should they eventually collapse (or transform or get sold), Amazon will be the most bookish place for readers to go to buy books.
You’re not hearing from some Prime-drunk refugee of the Borders wars here. These are the thoughts of Laura Dawson, Firebrand’s reigning Queen of Metadata, one of our best-regarded publishing specialists, and she’s packing knitting needles, don’t cross her.
In Why Amazon Will Be the Good Guy, Dawson is echoing a jazzy new counterpoint to the shrill call of the poison-dart frog we’ve heard so relentlessly in deepest, darkest Amazonia.
A new slant on the aggressive retailer is beginning to be felt. And this angle doesn’t always turn up along the same lines of debate, which indicates that a subtle but broad-based reconsideration may be underway. Dawson’s not dropping a stitch:
In the late 1990s, the American Booksellers Association sued Barnes & Noble and Borders over what they felt were unfair trade practices… B&N was the king of the discount. And for “bookish” folks, this was a source of friction – the cheapening of books made them seem commoditized, and our beloved independent bookstores were going out of business.
Hunker with me here. This is an argument many can’t see yet.
Amazon has been regarded as less than entirely “bookish” since its inception, when Bezos made it clear that books were just the beginning (and only because books were the easiest products to build a store around).