No one knows better than us here at the Amrah Publishing House how much change the publishing industry has gone through in recent years. In fact, this is the reason indie publishers such as us exist. But in recent weeks the online world has exploded with opinions over Amazon’s latest bid to edge past their competition in the book-selling market. Voices such as novelist Richard Russo spoke up in favor of your local independent bookstore, arguing they do far more to encourage a literary culture than Amazon.
On Slate, Farhad Manjoo responded with the article: “Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller: Buying books on Amazon is better for authors, better for the economy, and better for you.” He makes some points we can certainly get behind here at the Amrah Publishing House. After all, it is Amazon who launched a self-publishing system that made it easier for new authors to get their work to readers. And Amazon does make it easier to recommend books we love to others who love the same things as us.
All the same, we’re not looking eagerly to the demise of independent bookstores. There is nothing more comforting than walking into a little shop full of the musty smell of books, and chatting with the shopkeeper about the latest releases. Manjoo’s argument rests on the contention that such shops are inefficient. Well, it is certainly a pleasurable inefficiency.
Clearly, future changes in the publishing industry will affect our business. But we hold out hope the end result will be more choice for readers, rather than the end of one or the other.