New Amazon offer: selling Kindles at indie bookstores

Amazon this week unveiled a new initiative called Amazon Source, under which independent bookstores would sell the company’s Kindle e-readers and get a cut of sales of e-books afterward. Beyond the participating bookstores cited in Amazon’s press release, other reactions from indie booksellers: No, thanks.

“Mostly we’re getting kind of a laugh, actually,” Amy Thomas, president of Berkeley-based Pegasus Books, said by phone today.  It’s something to which she says “we can absolutely say nah.”

The world’s biggest online retailer will “let” bookstores get a 10 percent cut of any e-books sold from the Kindles they sell, according to the press release, which notes that the program has rolled out in 25 U.S. states.

“Teaming up with Amazon to bridge the move to electronic books will help us find a means of long-term viability for our independent bookstore. Kindle will help us bridge the evolution of the bookstore into the Internet age,” said Jason Bailey, co-Owner of JJ Books in Bothell, Wash., according to Amazon’s press release.

Thomas isn’t buying it. “It kind of suggests that they think we are stupid, or at the very least quite naive.  Trust me, booksellers that have survived the last decade are anything but naive.”

Pegasus, which also has a store in Oakland, has a deal to sell Kobo tablets, which enables users to upload open format e-publications. The difference, Thomas says, is that Kobo is not tied to any one vendor like the Kindle is tied to Amazon. “You can buy books from our stores with the Kobo.”

 

Photo: Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and tablets. (Amazon.com via Associated Press)

 

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