6 responses to “Nancy Pearl on Amazon, Interdependence and Those ‘Wonderful Midlist Books’”

  1. Bernadette Pajer

    Thanks for this Nancy and Lindsey. Excellent questions and thoughtful answers. Like so many others, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the future of publishing and the debate over Amazon’s practices. There’s such negativity now, such anger and fear over the future of publishing and independent booksellers that it’s become extremely divisive and preventing us from finding solutions. If instead of resisting and resenting the changes, we focused, as Nancy does, on the task of bringing quality books to devoted readers, then maybe we could begin to find new business models (for Indie bookstores and publishers) that embrace the changes.

  2. Tegan

    What a wonderful, respectful, informative interview! Thank you Lindsey and Nancy for your honesty and enthusiasm.

    I’d buy Hemingway with the removable beard. Archie McPhee, are you reading?

  3. JLOakley

    Excellent interview, Lindsey. A nice give and take. I was surprised by Nancy’s signing up with Amazon, but it sounds like it fits her requirements that the authors or their representatives get paid (which I like as an author) and its availability. Publishing and bookselling today is just like a salad toss.

  4. George

    Nancy should reprint her favorite neglected books, which are exclusive to Amazon customers, and stop feigning interest in the fate of independent booksellers. There are some great programs that Amazon financially supports, like the Best Translated Book Award. But it’s one thing to dance with the devil, something entirely different to move in with him.

  5. Deon Stonehouse

    Great interview, Nancy Pearl has plainly stated her position. “I never considered myself to be a voice of the independent bookselling community.”

    I agree, I cannot understand why we would see Nancy Pearl as a spokesperson for Independent Bookstores either; clearly she is not a champion of Independent Bookstores.

    Although as an Independent Bookseller I can say we used to be great promoters of Nancy Pearl. I wonder, without Independent Booksellers would Nancy Pearl be so well known now?

    She makes an interesting assertion that I also agree with totally “online booksellers have virtually unlimited inventories and generally the greatest ability to discount prices, but essentially no personal service”

    But I disagree that it helps the community of readers or promotes literature. When was the last time Amazon hosted book clubs or held an author event? How can Independent Bookstores hope to survive in a world where an Amazonian internet retailer discounts prices to near-cost? Not only do they discount prices to near cost, but they now have the US Government fighting their battles for them with a suit against the six publishers who stood up to Amazon by setting fair prices for their products. Ever buy a word game? The manufacturer probably set a minimum price for the product. How about a fine pen? Again the manufacturer set a minimum price to protect the integrity of their product. Many companies set a minimum price for their creations. The Justice Department is not after them, only those poor six publishers trying to protect the integrity of their product from an assault by one major internet retailer. Amazon isn’t evil, it is just a corporation, a very predatory corporation, with an intention to smash its competition and dominate the book world.

    Ms. Pearl made a rather odd statement; “If those other business models ever crowded independent booksellers out of the marketplace completely, that would be a great loss for the community of readers.” What does she think is happening right now with her publisher, Amazon? Is she unaware of the realities of the book world, or perhaps she does not care. A simple equation shows that you cannot pay rent, lights, staffing, insurance, etc. on a bricks and mortar store then sell the books for cost or pennies above. Bankruptcy will ensue. What does she think the Justice Department’s action will do to publishing? As an Independent Bookseller I do not want Amazon to fail, I actually agree with Nancy Pearl that the marketplace should have room for both Independent Bookstores and Amazon. However Amazon’s predatory competition and unfair pricing must be stopped and that is not likely. Especially now that we are using tax payer dollars to fight Amazon’s battles and clear the way for more unfair pricing.

    In the meantime Nancy Pearl and Amazon should make good partners. Independent Booksellers do have passionate, enormously talented authors who are doing their very best to save our beleaguered bookstores: Sherman Alexie, Jonathan Evison, and Richard Russo to name a just few. They are my heroes and all so wonderfully talented that I am happy whenever I can put their books in a reader’s hand. Just the other day I had the pleasure of introducing a reader to Sherman Alexi’s Reservation Blues. The customer came back a few days later to purchase every Sherman Alexie book we carry! Sherman, Jonathan, and Richard, you rock! Every time I put a book in the hand of a customer that introduces them to a new author or title, it makes me happy. I appreciate enormously the gift of being able to promote titles and authors that have given me pleasure. Every time someone returns to our store to let me know they enjoyed a book I suggested it lights up my day. So a big thanks to all the authors who have been outspoken, passionate proponents of Independent Booksellers. Thank you for helping me continue doing what I love.

  6. Cheryl McKeon

    Thank you, Lindsey, for asking what many were thinking; and thanks to Nancy for her continued wisdom and passion for reading. Of course, we appreciate PNBA for spreading the word (even beyond the PNW!)

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