This article by Wendy Werris originally appeared on Publishers Weekly on 3/5/14.
When the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books unveiled its list of participating authors on Tuesday, the event caused a stir among local booksellers who immediately noticed the list featured buy links to Amazon. That the festival would partner with Amazon instead of the IndieBound affiliate program is not sitting well with the bookselling community that has long supported the literary event.
“Exhibitors at the Festival put an enormous amount of time and money into making this event a success for their stores,” said Mary Williams, events manager of Skylight Books in Los Angeles, “and for the authors who appear, while serving the hundreds of thousands of people that attend. Having sales siphoned away from that effort is disheartening, to say the least.” Williams hopes that the Festival staff will consider adding the IndieBound program, which allows customers to order through independent bookstores’ websites in advance of the Festival’s author events.
The Festival of Books launched in 1996 on the campus of UCLA and has grown considerably over time; for many Los Angeles bookstores it is the biggest event of the year. The L.A. Times successfully moved the location of the Festival to the University of Southern California in 2010, and it will be held there April 12 and 13.