AS BUYERS, BORROWERS, LOVERS, AND SUPPORTERS of books, it's in our interest to be informed consumers. The standoff between Hachette and Amazon that I discussed in my last letter continues. On August 9, shortly after we go to press, a full page ad, supported by more than 900 writers, including John Grisham and Stephen King, is scheduled to run in the New York Times. The line in the ad that stands out:
"As writers--most of us not published by Hachette--we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want."
Author Douglas Preston is a member of the group that wrote the ad. In a New York Times article on August 7, Preston claims that, before Amazon's treatment of Hachette, about half his sales came from Amazon. Half. Amazon is a retailer with extreme power, and that power continues to grow.
Elsewhere in the industry, in an effort to compete against Amazon, Google and Barnes & Noble have announced a partnership to support the same-day delivery of books. Google will place Google Shopping Express employees inside Barnes & Noble stores in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to facilitate the delivery of books by courier to residents in those metropolitan areas who order the books online. Interesting.
I haven't seen anyone yet discussing the privacy implications of Google and B&N's new effort...