Children's publisher Barefoot Books has said it has terminated its relationship with Amazon in the UK and the US, declaring the way the retailer does business "undermines" Barefoot's approach.
Barefoot Books' co-founder and c.e.o. Nancy Traversy [pictured right with co-founder Tessa Strickland] highlighted the lack of personal relationships in dealing with Amazon, and said the publisher will focus on its "ambassador" selling community, where individuals can sell Barefoot titles from home, as well as its "studios", shops which also act as creative arts and family centres. Barefoot's ambassadors network is growing at a rate of 16% a month across the UK, continental Europe and North America.
The publisher said its relationships with independent bookshops and the education market, as well as its existing relationships with wholesalers, would not be affected by the move away from Amazon.
Traversy said: "As entrepreneurs, we admire Amazon and its ground-breaking accomplishments. However, Barefoot's commitment is to diversity and to grassroots values; to 'small is beautiful' . . . We believe our future success lies in growing our network of independent ambassador distributors—a community where personal connections matter, where we can bring our books to life for families, and where we can stay true to the values that have defined our business since we started running Barefoot from our homes 20 years ago."
She added: "The challenges we have faced doing business with Amazon over the years are similar to those we experienced selling to the big box retail chains. Personal relationships with buyers are rare, particularly when you're a small publisher like we are. Our books become commodities that are usually heavily discounted and Amazon often starts selling them before we have even received our advance copies from the printer.
"This way of doing business undermines the efforts of our fantastic community of ambassadors and independent retailers."
Amazon.co.uk did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2006, Barefoot decided to end its relationships with chains Borders and Barnes & Noble.