Amazon announced a new program this week for independent booksellers. The deal: bookstores sell Kindles, and Amazon gives them a small cut of the sale plus commission on the buyers' first two years of eBook purchases.
The New York Times profiled a handful of booksellers, most of whom are offended by the program, which they see as an invitation to cooperate in their own obliteration:
“We help Amazon grow its business and, in return, get a thin slice of the sale?” asked J. B. Dickey at Seattle Mystery Bookshop. “That’s not cooperation. That’s being complicit in your execution.”
This new program comes on the heels of another Amazon program that seems designed to push more people from print to Kindle. In the beginning of October, Amazon started its MatchBook program, which offers customers free or cheap Kindle versions of existing print books they've already purchased through the site.
Amazon has already grabbed so much of the physical book market. It seems surprising that at this late date they're still dreaming up ways to convert print holdouts to Kindles. My friends who are reading paper books aren't doing it because they haven't heard of Kindles, they're doing it because they prefer paper or want to support independent bookstores. But Amazon must believe there's a significant amount of undecideds.