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Dave Eggers makes a stand against Amazon

by | Oct 6, 2021 | News

Award-winning campaigning author, Dave Eggers, will limit the US sales of the hardcover editions of his new novel, The Every, to small bookstores only and will not let the online giant Amazon sell the hardback copies.

Eggers will allow hardcover editions to go on sale only in small bookstores starting tomorrow (Tuesday), while Vintage, a division of Random House, will publish an e-book and a paperback version weeks later. Even then, customers won’t be able to buy the hardcover on Amazon.

Eggers’s maverick move has been met with great gratitude by America’s independent bookstore owners, who are struggling with the huge post-Covid shift to online services.

In Britain, retailers are calling out for a similar champion, and many authors will be rallying to the cause on Saturday, Bookshop Day, by attending live events in local bookshops. Leading writers Jeanette Winterson, Ian Rankin, Mark O’Connell, Val McDermid, KN Chimbiri and Piers Torday are among those giving book signings or readings on 9 October.

UK’s grassroots pushback against the dominance of online bookselling has three main prongs; the first concerns the growing solidarity between independent bookshops across the nations, typified by the arrival a year ago of uk.bookshop.org, a portal for buying books that pays back to booksellers that are not part of large chains.

The second involves a campaign to persuade Amazon to let its staff join a union, improve their conditions and so level the playing field. It is led by the union Unite, which has also published a report into Amazon’s business strategies and set up a confidential whistleblowing hotline for workers. The third element of the grassroots movement is taking place on high streets, where many bookstores are now venues for events and community groups.

Eggers has long pushed back against the conventions of the industry, setting up his own non-profit publishing house, McSweeney’s, in 1998, two years before his breakout bestseller A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. But it is also something that fits neatly with the subject of his new book. A sequel to his 2013 hit, The Circle, is a dystopian satire, featuring a company that looks much like Amazon.

Source: The Guardian

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