Canning the Kindle

3 May

Kindle-DX-graphite-Angle-Hand

Well-known Australian bookseller Jon Page has made headlines around the world for calling out Amazon on its restrictive and monopolistic bookselling practices. Calling Amazon a ‘walled garden’, Page has criticised the fact that Amazon’s Kindles only allow readers to download and read books from their own store. What’s different about this protest is that they are offering a ‘Kindle Amnesty’: Page has installed a big bin in his shop (Pages&Pages in Sydney), and is offering customers $50 in book vouchers to do away with their Kindles once and for all. Customers are asked to replace their Kindles with another ereader which allows them to download ebooks in any format, from any retailer – including Pages&Pages and other local bookshops.

The thing I like most about this – apart from the cheek of giving the finger to a corporate giant – is the fact that it reminds people of the importance of bookshops in our ‘villages’ – that they are a place of refuge and beauty, and important communal spaces.  And it’s working. Yesterday Page tweeted that it was P&P’s best moth of ebook sales ‘EVAR!!!’

EVAR

Essentially the campaign has been effective for these two reasons – no one wants to feel controlled by companies like Amazon, but beyond that, people are willing to change their consumer habits to preserve local indie bookshops. It’s a glimmer of success that defies the gloomy news and subsequent predictions of two years ago.

It’s not just P&P that’s been flipping the bird to the doomsayers. Latest figures showed that April saw a rise in bookbuying across the country  – in both e- and p-books. With more push from the little guys like this, perhaps the book industry has a healthy future after all.

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2 Responses to “Canning the Kindle”

  1. Azevedo May 4, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    Despite this small victory, local bookshops have a humongous task ahead. Going against Amazon won’t be easy.

    • heathesaurus May 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

      I agree, Azevedo – and I don’t think anyone is under the impression that it won’t take a lot of serious effort and stratgeising. But it’s comforting to think that there are innovations happening at local level that are proving somewhat effective. I guess the aim can’t be to ‘bring down’ Amazon, but to carve out space for alternatives so that there can be choice, competition, variety in culture and so that communities are recognised and served… We can’t feel defeated yet! 🙂

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