Godfray asks BL to "review" Amazon link

Tim Godfray, chief executive of the Booksellers Association, has asked British Library c.e.o. Dame Lynne Brindley to review the Library’s relationship with Amazon “as a matter of urgency”, following the furore over links to Amazon.co.uk on records in its online catalogue.

Booksellers have challenged the British Library’s choice to link to the online retailer exclusively. The British Library took down the links on Friday (14th October) as a result of the criticism, but this week announced its intention to reinstate them.

Godfray said: “We believe very strongly that the British Library should be opening channels for all book retailers to benefit from the opportunities offered by the British Library and I have written to Dame Lynne to request that she reviews the relationship with Amazon within that context as a matter of urgency”.

Johnny de Falbe of John Sandoe bookshop said: “The British Library says it is ‘providing users with the choice of an alternative method of obtaining a title if, for some reason, it is not available in the Library’s Reading Rooms’. But users have always had an alternative method: it is called going to a bookshop. Are the British Library’s directors unaware that Britain has a great many very good bookshops? If so, they should discover them and learn what booksellers do besides simply taking money for products. If not, do they think everyone else attaches so little value to a diversity of bookshops and booksellers?”

De Falbe said the British Library was “ignoring the whole UK book trade in favour of Amazon” and added: “I had always fondly supposed that the British Library, of all people/institutions, would support British bookshops. Although the British Library has many private donors, it is primarily supported by public funds. Amazon is not a public information service: it is an aggressively competitive retailer. In effect, the taxes paid by UK booksellers are being used for the promotion of a single competitor, whose interests are in direct conflict.”

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