Indie Bookstores Reject Amazon Wylie Deal

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Yesterday the Wylie Agency and Amazon announced an exclusive eBook deal. Publishers Macmillan and Random House criticized the deal and now indie bookstores are also rejecting the idea

Brandon Stout
, a spokesperson for Changing Hands Bookstore, an independent bookstore in Arizona, thinks it is offensive. “What’s offensive is the exclusivity, the lack of choice, the author complicity in herding readers to a closed system like the Kindle,” he said. “Think about the music industry. AC/DC, KISS, even Bruce Springsteen launch Walmart exclusives and the industry hits the roof. Outrage all around. Still, for all its problems, fans at least can access the music, and without buying a Walmart-branded media player.”

Under the terms of the Wylie/Amazon deal, Wylie is publishing 20 eBooks through the literary agency’s brand new Odyssey Editions imprint exclusively through the Amazon Kindle Store. This includes titles by Philip Roth, Ralph Ellison and Norman Mailer.

Stout said that while it won’t affect indie booksellers in the short term, it will once Google Editions launched. “If the trend continues, though, it could be devastating, and for all the obvious reasons,” he said. “Let’s say Amazon, free to load its app on any number of devices, snaps up exclusive after exclusive. The Nook team works to compete. Then it’s on, and I don’t anticipate a happy ending for indies or for readers. At least not where eBooks are concerned.”