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SoA says Amazon/TBD merger "unhealthy"

The Society of Authors is the latest organisation to argue that the merger of Amazon with The Book Depository could lead to “unhealthy domination” of one company over the bookselling market.

In its submission to the Office of Fair Trading, the society said it was important to maintain a wide and varied range of outlets for books in the UK and was concerned Amazon’s growth would inhibit this.

The SoA said: “Of course the pressures on bookselling and publishing are many and varied, and the threat is by no means solely down to the rise of Amazon, but to approve Amazon’s takeover of The Book Depository would in our view be a further step towards unhealthy domination by a single company.”

Kate Pool, deputy general secretary of the SoA, told The Bookseller: “The smaller the range of places and voices recommending new titles, the narrower the range of titles bought and read will be. Bricks and mortar booksellers are very important in this respect.”

She also underlined the importance of the editorial process publishers use in ensuring quality books get out in the market, contrasting this with authors' ability to self-publish books through Amazon. Pool said: “New authors can self-publish with Amazon, but there will have been little if any expert editorial input, and it is perhaps akin to picking a daisy and dropping it on a display table at the Chelsea Flower Show and hoping it will be given a Gold Prize.”

The SoA joins the Booksellers Association, Publishers Association, Independent Publishers Guild and The Bookseller Group in responding to the OFT about the proposed merger of Amazon and The Book Depository. 

The OFT is set to decide whether to refer the merger to the Competition Commission by 30th August 2011.

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I Think Kate Pool's comment re self-pubbed books is a gross injustice to many self-pubbed authors, quote: “New authors can self-publish with Amazon, but there will have been little if any expert editorial input, and it is perhaps akin to picking a daisy and dropping it on a display table at the Chelsea Flower Show and hoping it will be given a Gold Prize.”

For Ms Pool's benefit and other literary snobs, I would like to point out how many books by big-named publishers that have shocking editorial input, bad grammar, typos and loads of padding to render a book to 400 pages when it could have been better written within 200 pages. Many of the Indie books (self-pubbed)are often better written, have page-turning plots, and so far I've only found two that could have been better with a little careful editing.

cheers
Emma

I totally agree that Amazon and The Book Depository should NOT merge! Very unhealthy!

I understand what Lisa Campbell meant about self-publishing. I can also understand Emma Harvey's comment in regards to the decline in editing (causing many editing mistakes) by big-named publishers. There are some self-published books out there that have been edited (as I can attest to, as I'm an independent editor who has edited for self-published authors).

Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}

The sole purpose of any individual or group that has 'any' connection to the publishing industry is to ensure publishers continue to control who gets published and how much they should earn. I agree with Emma' point that many indie writers bring, at times, much more to the table.

Being retired and having no interest whatsoever in who publishes what, I am more concerned with a good book and a cup of coffee. Personally, I don't care who writes it or who publishes it.

I felt your comments about self-published authors was quite right, and actually very true, especially where you cited poor standards of English emanating from publishing houses. My gripe is that only 2 days ago I discovered, as a self published author with considerable professional input to my first book published 3 years ago, Google had digitally copied it, and within weeks of publication it was 'live' on the web. Only on Sunday I discovered that Amazon is selling e-book copies of my book without my knowledge or permission. While I love technology and believe it has made a positive impact on world societies, it also has its down side in that the likes of Google and Amazon -American corporations- believe that might is right and that they can literally steal other people's work with impugnity! As one of the tiddlers in the literary world I am aggreived and incensed, and view the merger of Amazon and The Book Depository as a very bad move for authors.

Regards,

David Firth

I Think Kate Pool's comment re self-pubbed books is a gross injustice to many self-pubbed authors, quote: “New authors can self-publish with Amazon, but there will have been little if any expert editorial input, and it is perhaps akin to picking a daisy and dropping it on a display table at the Chelsea Flower Show and hoping it will be given a Gold Prize.”

For Ms Pool's benefit and other literary snobs, I would like to point out how many books by big-named publishers that have shocking editorial input, bad grammar, typos and loads of padding to render a book to 400 pages when it could have been better written within 200 pages. Many of the Indie books (self-pubbed)are often better written, have page-turning plots, and so far I've only found two that could have been better with a little careful editing.

cheers
Emma

I felt your comments about self-published authors was quite right, and actually very true, especially where you cited poor standards of English emanating from publishing houses. My gripe is that only 2 days ago I discovered, as a self published author with considerable professional input to my first book published 3 years ago, Google had digitally copied it, and within weeks of publication it was 'live' on the web. Only on Sunday I discovered that Amazon is selling e-book copies of my book without my knowledge or permission. While I love technology and believe it has made a positive impact on world societies, it also has its down side in that the likes of Google and Amazon -American corporations- believe that might is right and that they can literally steal other people's work with impugnity! As one of the tiddlers in the literary world I am aggreived and incensed, and view the merger of Amazon and The Book Depository as a very bad move for authors.

Regards,

David Firth

I totally agree that Amazon and The Book Depository should NOT merge! Very unhealthy!

I understand what Lisa Campbell meant about self-publishing. I can also understand Emma Harvey's comment in regards to the decline in editing (causing many editing mistakes) by big-named publishers. There are some self-published books out there that have been edited (as I can attest to, as I'm an independent editor who has edited for self-published authors).

Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}

The sole purpose of any individual or group that has 'any' connection to the publishing industry is to ensure publishers continue to control who gets published and how much they should earn. I agree with Emma' point that many indie writers bring, at times, much more to the table.

Being retired and having no interest whatsoever in who publishes what, I am more concerned with a good book and a cup of coffee. Personally, I don't care who writes it or who publishes it.