Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Amazon’s AbeBooks backflips after booksellers protest

After two days of striking against Amazon subsidiary AbeBooks, antiquarian booksellers around the world have had success, with the retailer apologising and saying it would reverse the decision that prompted the protest, reports the New York Times.

Almost 600 antiquarian book dealers in 27 countries pulled their books from AbeBooks in protest against the site, after the Amazon subsidiary notified booksellers in countries including South Korea, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia last month that from 30 November it would no longer support them. Around four million books were removed from the site, after British bookseller Simon Beattie proposed the strike in solidarity with international colleagues.

International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) president Sally Burdon spoke with AbeBooks CEO Arkady Vitrouk, and subsequently emailed ILAB members with the news that booksellers in the affected countries would not be dropped by AbeBooks as planned on 30 November. ‘Arkady told us that Abe are very well aware of the mistake they have made,’ wrote Burdon. ‘He stated that it was a “bad decision” and that they deeply regret the hurt and harm they have caused.’

Ecommerce analytics firm Marketplace Pulse CEO Juozas Kaziukenas said: ‘I don’t think anything like this has ever happened before with any part of Amazon. It would be much harder to have a strike on Amazon itself, just because there are so many sellers there and they are not part of an organised community.’

‘Whoever owns the platform owns the power,’ added Kaziukenas. ‘As a seller you are a small module in a massively complicated system. If a thousand of you say you will not do something anymore, 2000 others will replace you. This is the harsh reality of being a seller.’

Scott Brown, owner of California’s Eureka Books and one of the strike’s organisers, noted, ‘We are entirely subject to their whims. We need to spend more time focusing our energies on our own business outside of the Amazon ecosphere.’



Category: International news