There is all manner of concern about Amazon’s relationship with independent booksellers. Basically, Amazon really annoyed them by providing price inducements for people to use Amazon’s price check app inside their stores and bypass them for better deals. Of course, this is just strong price competition and could be matched by the stores but a poor image remains.

This prompted Sarah Green to suggest cooperating rather than competing. While there is too much sentiment in the tone of her post for my taste, the idea that perhaps there is an opportunity for Amazon here is a sound one. Physical bookstores could generate more electronic book and other book sales.

What Green doesn’t note but I want to point out is that Amazon already have a scheme ready for this: Amazon Associates. Bookstores could become associates and whenever customers wanted to purchase from Amazon instead of them, they could do it. Of course, on the same score, they could recognize an opportunity to save Amazon some shipping fees and a transaction could be structured that leaves both Amazon and bookseller better off and the book leaving with the customer in the store. Unfortunately, for electronic books, Amazon often does not have Associates’ fees but surely this could be easily changed. Why should Amazon Associates be confined to the virtual world?

On that score, why confine it to bookstores? If someone sees a book in my house or I give them a book recommendation, why can’t I get referral fees from Amazon then and there. The opportunities for thinking beyond the webpage are surely endless.

One Response to Amazon and independent booksellers

  1. Hut Landon says:

    “Of course, this is just strong price competition and could be matched by the stores but a poor image remains.”

    Just to clarify, Amazon sells many titles at or below its cost in order to garner new customers that it can sell other merchandise to. No bookstore can stay afloat by selling books as a loss leader, so the assertion that stores can match Amazon prices is simply not true.

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