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Saturday, January 30, 2010

11:56 PM: Open Letter to Amazon.Com

I just e-mailed this to Amazon:

I'm a fan of Amazon.Com. A very *vocal* fan of Amazon.Com. I've been buying books through your service for the past decade, and I have defended Amazon in any number of arguments. I have loudly declared that, given the choice of Amazon failing, or every brick-and-mortal bookstore in the land closing, I would rather keep Amazon.

Most specifically, I have said that the reason Amazon's increasing dominance is NOT a problem in the way that the dominance of chain bookstore has been is that Amazon sells EVERYTHING. Barnes and Noble, Borders, and so on are limited by the physical space available in shops, and necessarily have too much influence on whether books succeed or fail; Amazon, by making everything available, avoids that trap. And as I could envision no set of circumstances in which Amazon would fail to offer any legitimate book, I had no trouble heaping all of my eggs into its basket. In fact, I have bought at Amazon INSTEAD of offline retailers when possible specifically in order to support what I've thought of as my local bookstore.

I'm having second thoughts now. While I could easily understand not carrying copies of Macmillan's books for the Kindle if you were unable to reach an equitable agreement with them, removing the PHYSICAL copies of the books is another matter entirely. You've knocked the support out from my major reason to support you. I don't think I can trust you anymore.

And this saddens me more than I can say.

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