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13 October, 2005

Amazon's not so bad

Alan Bennett, the author/playwright whose home village in Yorkshire happens to be within cycling distance of Lancaster (not that that's relevant) has urged people to boycott major book retailers such as Waterstones and Amazon "to keep their local independent bookshops alive."

Not a chance.

As I've said before, I'm totally opposed to the idea of artificially sustaining obsolete market sectors merely for the sake of sentimentality. If independent bookshops can't compete in the open market, or can't exploit some specialist niche, goodbye. To repeat myself: if the market doesn't support their existence, the obvious result shouldn't be postponed.

If he'd expressed it in terms of excessive commercialisation of the publishing industry, and an unwillingness of publishers to risk minority-interest books which mightn't sell well via mass-market outlets, I'd be rather more sympathetic. But he didn't.

Comments

if the market doesn't support their existence, the obvious result shouldn't be postponed.

Ack, you're such a Tory ;)

Posted by Siobhan Curran at October 13, 2005 08:49 PM

Nah; I don't support any political party, and I'm as likely to vote Tory as Green or English Nationalist i.e. it's not going to happen.
It's just that on this one (and almost certainly only this one!), the Conservative Party and I superficially agree.

If 'the little guy' is the best at what he does, or can provide something the major retailers can't, great, he'll earn my support. However, being small and 'traditional' isn't inherently praiseworthy. Bennett is advocating preserving independent bookshops merely for the sake of preserving them &ndash it's vacuous sentimentality.

Posted by NRT at October 13, 2005 10:57 PM
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