Friday 7 March 2008

A Children's Book David Takes On the Amazon Goliath

The mighty Amazon was rather startled today when a small publisher objected to its listing of his children's book on Amazon's site.

David Walker, a self-avowed aviation nut, wrote Tales From An Airfield (illustrated by Keith Woodcock) - a hardcover picture book featuring Archie the Airplane (the first story: The Wrong Airport can be downloaded on the Tales from an Airfield Website and you can buy postcards, a CD and a floor mat of Archie's airfield at the website's online shop.

Walker was determined to support the cause of independent/local bookstores and keep his book out of the grubby virtual shelves of the Amazon juggernaut and the big chains. The website lists the websites and locations of local bookshops that stock the book.

To his dismay, Amazon listed the book.

There was a face-off between Walker and Amazon book buyer Kes Neilsen on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme. Walker declared:
We didn't like the way the high street volume discount sellers take these things to market in such an offhand way. We are big fans of local independent bookshops ... we specifically didn't want to be lined up with these volume discount houses.
Neilsen was incredulous.
It's an incredibly unusual situation. We usually find that the millions of authors and many thousands of publishers who have books listed on the site are usually absolutely thrilled to see them. And certainly authors spend hours everyday looking at the site and checking their ranking.
Neilsen said the listing appears on the site but admitted that they didn't have any copies of the book.

"Isn't it a bit naughty then, to have it listed on your site?" the BBC presenter chided him.

Listen to this children's book David take on the Amazon Goliath here!

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