Statement About Amazon

Dear Reader

Today I removed all links to Amazon Corporation from this website. It was like flicking a particularly irritating imp from my shoulder and kicking it out of the door. It’s still out there, grinning and rubbing its hands together and, if I listen hard enough I can hear its execrable voice squeaking, “I still have all your readers, and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

It’s time to silence the imp for good. On behalf of independent book stores everywhere, writers who have decided to devote themselves to a cause or just the love of writing, readers who want to reject the most virulent corporate cancer in the publishing world, and anyone who prefers “Small is Beautiful” over “Big is Best”, I am going further.

Today I will be contacting the publishers of both Underminers and Time’s Up! and asking them to do everything in their power to remove the listings of those books from every Amazon database, and cease sales of those titles through Amazon Corp. and its regional equivalents.

I may not succeed, but I will have done my best. It is still my desire to ensure as many people as possible get to read these books, which is why I have always offered online equivalents to read on web pages or downloadable text. But I appreciate that many people, like me, love the tangible quality of the book – its feel in the hand; the sound of turning leaves and echo of a dialogue between author and reader; even the smell of the book, the memories of its last resting place, resident in the fibres of every open page.

You deserve that choice: new, used, old, infirm and falling to pieces, or cherished on a shelf waiting for the next reader to come along and see what is inside.

Can I ask that we make a deal? I will do what I can to de-Amazon my books; and you, please tell everyone not to use this corporate behemoth, and give the little people, the people who are like us, a chance.

Yours

Keith Farnish

Author and Campaigner

Update 28 June: My publishers have responded and are trying their very best, but hamstrung by the wholesalers, who have no qualms about selling to Amazon because they are also massive companies. However, UIT have withdrawn “Time’s Up!” from direct sale via Amazon Advantage, which is a start…

8 Responses to Statement About Amazon

  1. Martin says:

    I read that Rob Hopkins (Transition Network etc) tried to delete his Amazon account after the news about the way they were treating and paying workers in their UK warehouses. He found it quite hard – there is no ‘delete account’ option – you have to actually contact them and request it. I’ve only used them for a business purchase recently and will not buy books through them. Considering deleting my account for the reasons you state and many more. If enough people do things like this, we can have an impact.

    • farnishk says:

      Sadly, account deletion will have little impact; rather like Facebook getting upset if people remove their accounts – one amongst hundreds of millions. But making it as public as possible is one way to get others to listen. Very high profile authors and major publishers withdrawing – now that would make a difference; it would certainly signify disquiet in the world of the monopoly.

  2. Bucky Fuller says:

    Uh, from a position of ignorance I ask sincerely, what is it that is so bad about Amazon?

    • farnishk says:

      I’ve always been antipathetic to Amazon the company for their purposeful aim of dominating the book selling market through heavy discounting at the expense of small retailers, publishers and authors; and essentially using their corporate muscle to negotiate contracts which only benefit themselves. There is a huge amount of information out there – just search for “Amazon” + “independent” + “bookstores” (and even then, they are using their PR machine to manipulate the news).

      This is the event that finally broke my patience: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/25/new-amazon-terms-book-industry-report-concessions

      Cheers, K.

  3. Steve says:

    Hi Keith,
    Im just wondering what your views are on the non Amazon sellers who sell on amazon and customers like myself who happily purchase from the non corporate sellers (many small traders such as Labyrynth in Glastonbury). sometimes it is the only way to find cheap, used books from these small sellers.
    All the best and keep at it!
    Regards.

    • farnishk says:

      Hi Steve, I would go for AbeBooks if you can’t physically find an independent (a friend of mine ordered Underminers and just waited because he cares about these shops). Although Abe is owned by Amazon, they only take a small percentage and it’s unbranded, whereas Marketplace is very much an Amazon business, and draws people to the main Amazon.

      Cheers, K.

  4. steve says:

    The independent sellers that I know nearly all have a presence on Marketplace (myself included-I get rid of my old unwanted’s on there!). Personally, I tend to buy off the independents on Marketplace even though Amazon take a cut. I live 10 miles from town so dont tend to visit shops if i can help it!
    All the best.

  5. Ben says:

    One can use bookfinder.com to find all the internet’s books for sale, making it really easy to avoid Amazon or the Amazon-owned Abebooks. Also, I try to think about the whole dollar I might save on a book from Amazon, and compare it to the amount of dollars I spend every month on shit like beer.

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