We always have a look at Booko first to find the best price and usually find Book Depository is the cheapest, also AbeBooks & Fishpond. Amazon bought out Book Depository last year. With reduced budgets we have to make our money go further and look for online savings. Sad but necessary.
Interesting to read the article by author & editor Duncan Lay (“Death of the bookshop?” (Sunday Telegraph 5/8/12 – not available freely online anymore). He has seen many bookstores close down and recommends that we buy any eReader except the Kindle! Don’t give Amazon the monopoly on ebooks.
In the same article, Jon Page (great name – president of the Australian Bookseller Assoc and bookshop owner) stated that Amazon is the biggest threat to bookstores. They sell books at a loss to grab market share and to avoid paying sales tax; they also charge for including books on their recommended lists and “customers who bought this…” lists. If publishers don’t pay Amazon then their books are not easily discoverable. He said Australian authors are never on Amazon’s front page. Page believes ebooks are not the threat but Amazon & Kindle are.
To compete more with online sales, Australian publishers dropped the recommended retail price of books last year by around 7%.
Dymocks managing director Steven Cox said the company had benefited from the Borders/A & R collapse – they opened 8 new stores in 2011 with several more this year. He is less concerned with Amazon and believes bookstores offer service and expertise, but he believes that import laws must change in order to compete with online retailers. The lack of parallel imports inhibits the ability to deliver books on time and at a good price.
In June 2012, the Speed to Market Initiative was introduced (agreed to by Aust. Society of Authors, Printing Industries Assoc, Aust. Literary Agents Assoc, Aust. Publishers Assoc & Aust. Booksellers Assoc). Publishers, in exchange for the government’s blocking of parallel imports, will ensure local versions of overseas titles are brought out within 14 days.
And self-published ebooks? Out of an average 400 new ebooks available on Amazon each month, more than half are free or less than $2. Authors have the chance to write and sell, but if the quality isn’t there then few people will buy.