Amazon’s quest for industry domination is “scary” and it could have the ability to “destroy the book trade as we know it”, Booksellers Association c.e.o. Tim Godfray has said in an exclusive column for today’s London Book Fair Bookseller Daily.
The BA chief is due to argue his case in the “foe” camp of “The Great Debate—Amazon Friend or Foe?” session today (15th April) at the Fair, at 11.30 a.m. in Conference Centre 1&2. In today’s Daily he writes: “Amazon has achieved its phenomenal growth and influence because consumers like what it does, but, in my view, if they continue to threaten large parts of the book trade, this will not only be bad for the industry, but also, in the long run, for the consumer too.”
Amazon owns 18 separate companies that cover book printing and publishing, marketplaces, audio and digital reading, Godfray writes. “So the writer goes straight to Amazon. Amazon publishes the author’s work and can then promote the book to targeted users . . . Scary. With such a set-up, they really do have the ability to destroy the book trade as we know it.”
Rob Levine, author of Free Ride (Vintage) will also be speaking at the debate and said it was unquestionable that Amazon was a big vendor of books. But, he added: “I don’t know if I would call Amazon an enemy, more of an addiction. As with all addictions, what might have a positive effect in the short term doesn’t have a positive effect in the long term.”
However, Waterstones founder Tim Waterstone argued that people should “stop complaining about Amazon” and instead try to “outsmart them”.