Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You Don't Have to Like the Giant

To change out the soapbox, I saw on Twitter a picture that made me a little nuts.  The picture was of a Kindle like thing, with a note, saying that if you have a Kindle, Amazon owns you so indie booksellers can't sell you ebooks.  Now, I don't have a Kindle (although I do have a rarely used Kindle app), but misinformation makes me nuts.  Let's start with the good stuff.
1. Yes, independent booksellers can sell ebooks.  There are a couple of different programs, but the idea is that you still get the cool, groovy experience of going to your local bookstore, talking with a helpful salesperson, and still coming away with a book in the format you wish, be it e or p. 
2. Yes, as far as I am aware, Amazon does not themselves participate in any of these programs. 
3. However, Kindle (app or machine or both) owners can get ebooks from places that are not Amazon.  Yes, Amazon has a wide selection and makes purchasing through them really easy (if, un-facilitated by a helpful salesperson), but Kindle owners have choices like everyone else. (They might have less places than some, but still choices.)
4.  Yes, Kindles use a proprietary format.  But, um, so do Nooks. PDF's are a proprietary format. Yes, formats like epub (currently, because it is all a changing) work on most non-kindle devices, but again - most.  Not all.
5.  I recognize that as a giant internet based site, Amazon presents a challenge to brick and mortar stores. I get it that running a brick and mortar store is a big, scary thing these days.  But, if snarking at the competition is your best option, well, then I think you're not helping anyone. 
6. I like brick and mortar bookstores.  I want them to survive.  Selling ebooks of any kind is a great thing.
7. But you can do that without thumbing your nose at some of your customers, who, one assumes, have made the trek to your store, only to discover, you apparently like to mock their kind.  Don't worry, they probably won't come back.