Amazon Reportedly Soliciting Indie Booksellers to Sell Kindles In-Store
Image via Shawn Blanc
If this story is true, it demonstrates just how out-of-touch some big corporations can be. The Digital Reader reports that representatives from Amazon have been soliciting indie booksellers in the hopes of convincing the shop owners to sell Kindles in their stores. This news inspires such a guttural "Really?" that Digital Reader's Nate Hoffelder put a special editor's note at the top of his article: "No, this is not a delayed April Fool's Day Joke." I mean, indie booksellers largely hate Amazon. So...really?
It all started last week when Skylight Books in Los Angeles received a call from an Amazon sales rep. The owners made a blog post about the encounter. Here's an excerpt:
[The representative] 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…yea, really. so, in my most incredulous voice i asked him if he was serious and stated flatly that we wouldn’t be interested.
When the Amazon rep asked why he objected to such a partnership, the shop owner gave him a response that he and his sales rep brethren should probably get used to hearing:
-the Kindle has to be open source.
-Amazon has to stop its predatory business practices such as undercutting the prices of an entire market of products (books) that they themselves do not depend on for revenue and/or creating sleazy apps that encourage people to buy from Amazon while they’re actually standing in a bookstore.
-Amazon needs to start paying sales tax in all 50 states of the union and stop sucking all the money out of every community they infiltrate.
Skylight isn't the only bookstore to receive solicitation from the online retailer. According to Shelf Awareness, Island Books in Mercer Island, WA was also contacted about carrying Kindles in their store. Paul Constant of Slog reports that Amazon has contacted other booksellers around the country, but he doesn't give any specifics.
Also, Amazon has opened ten positions for "Field Sales Representative - Kindle," which requires "Participating in assisted selling activities on weekends at select retail locations." Hoffelder of Digital Reader surmises this would entail "pitching the Kindle at book fairs, author signings, and other more personal events. You know, the kind of events that a bookstore might run."
Amazon has yet to comment on this news, but there is strong evidence supporting the bookseller's claim. Do you think Amazon would ever meet indies halfway and form a truly beneficial partnership for both parties? Or is it just another scheme to sap the market further?
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