One of my main beefs with big box stores is the way corporate bean counters have taken away local and regional discretion on ordering books for a store. There once was a time when a store manager could place an order for multiple copies of a book to be sold at that store because a local author sold well. Those same managers could order enough books for a teacher’s class if needed — and without the teacher having to pay up front. But those days are, for the most part gone. Worse, an Alaskan author has been caught in the middle of the world v. Amazon battle — and no one is standing up for that author against BN because, duh, Amazon is involved.
This morning’s edition of Shelf Awareness Pro tells the story of Alaskan author Debbie Dahl Edwardson. Her latest book, My Name is not Easy, isn’t available in Alaskan Barnes & Noble stores because her publisher was purchased by Amazon last year. Now, the interesting thing is that prior to Amazon buying the publisher, Marshall Cavendish, Ms. Edwardson’s book was apparently available. From the Anchorage Daily News: “An email from the Anchorage Barnes & Noble store informed her that her book, “My Name is Not Easy,” would no longer be available on their shelves.”
Would no longer be available on their shelves. NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE.
Sigh. So, a book they had been selling, a book that was nominated for a National Book Award last year, has been removed from the shelves. A book written by a popular local author has been removed. A bookd the Anchorage B&N manager said had been doing well. Why? Because the publisher was purchased by Amazon. No other reason except it is now tainted by THE EVIL THAT IS AMAZON.
And no one is up in arms about this. No writers are hitting social media condemning Barnes and Noble for taking income away from an author, from keeping reading material out of the hands of the buying public.
But the thing that really has me shaking my head is that BN has forced stores to remove a book from the shelves that was selling well, at least locally. And then they want our sympathy for their economic problems. Sorry, that dog don’t hunt. That would be like a coffee grower burning down part of its crop just because the plantation next to it was growing the same type of beans.
Understand, Amazon wasn’t taking this title as an exclusive. In fact, there is news today that Amazon’s latest line of e-books will not be exclusive only to Amazon.
Now, before you claim I’m applying a double standard here, I’m not. B&N has the right to choose what books it will and won’t sell. Just as Amazon does, even though the lemmings I’ve written about earlier don’t think so. However, my beef is with the policy that prevents a store manager from being able to order books for the local buying public that help make money for the store. My beef is with the double standard being presented by a certain group of writers who are so quick to condemn Amazon for not “doing right” by authors but they don’t hold the big box stores to the same standard.
I agree with what Ms. Edwardson had to say about all this calling it “the latest in a series of sad moves that keeps books from readers and punishes individual writers for decisions they had no say over.”