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Amazon and Waterstones: Lessons from history

No argument about what today’s big story is – though details of the proposed relationship between Waterstones and Amazon are scant at present.  The Guardian is all over the story:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/may/21/amazon-kindle-ebook-instore and

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/may/21/waterstones-kindle-amazon-deal?intcmp=239

both merit your attention, and The Bookseller has of course been updating all day long.

The Bookseller asked me to write an instant blogpost, and you can read it here.  I don’t just draw lessons from history, but I’ve been through one consummated relationship with Amazon in my life, so some reflection is allowed!

To comment on this blog post, just click on “leave a comment” in the Tags block above.

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3 Comments on “Amazon and Waterstones: Lessons from history”

  1. openbytes says:

    Mr Downer – “It’s a huge disappointment really. There are alternatives out there. Waterstones falling into the arms of Amazon feels like a victory for Amazon” (From the Guardian)

    Seems a little hypocritical then that after your protestations and views you’d choose to sell your book through them?

    http://openbytes.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/life-goes-on-for-waterstones-with-amazon-from-the-store-to-online-and-back-again/

    • Thank you, Openbytes. I hope it isn’t hugely hypocritical – if you have an ebook to sell, it would be fairly pointless not to sell it through Amazon, given the massive market share that they have in that sector. As best-sellers go, it’s yet to trouble EL James, so I haven’t gone to the trouble of formatting it for minority sellers. Had Waterstones pursued their much speculated upon Nook deal, I probably would have done.

  2. openbytes says:

    Well then surely you’ve answered your own question about why Waterstones would go with Amazon and it isn’t a huge disappointment…. after all

    “if you have an ebook to sell, it would be fairly pointless not to sell it through Amazon,”

    add that to the high-street presence of Waterstones and maybe its not a surprise to anyone that there would be an alliance.

    “As best-sellers go, it’s yet to trouble EL James, so I haven’t gone to the trouble of formatting it for minority sellers. ”

    What by a single click on Calibre (or similar) and push to epub? Infact I’d go so far to say converting txt to any format be it .pfd .lit , .rtf. (heaven forbid) .doc is no more or less difficult than Mobi…. DRM or not…

    “Had Waterstones pursued their much speculated upon Nook deal, I probably would have done.”

    Why? Its merely a reader that handles the generic (and open) format of .epub There’s plenty of other readers out there and infact you can (as above) make a simple conversation from epub to anything else….. And in any case Nook is a device, Amazon has its Kindle AND is a massive force in the distribution service (as per you’re opening sentences:)

    “if you have an ebook to sell, it would be fairly pointless not to sell it through Amazon”