Amazon Fear

Andrew AlbaneseIt’s a sunny afternoon, but no yet summertime as The Kinks sang – it’s April, of course – and publishers are hardly complaining about the nice weather.

The London Book Fair opened on Monday under blue skies, and even as the sunlight streamed through the arcaded windows at Olympia Hall, all was not sunny for the book world. For some, there was the unfamiliarity of a new exhibition space.

“Everyone was happy to be walking through West London in 70 degree weather,” notes Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. “Now, consider the alternative–its 45 and rainy, and all these thousands of fair-goers are wet, cold, and jammed in the aisles with wet coats, late for their meetings after waiting for a bus.”

If rain was not on the forecast, Amazon was on the programming.

“You can smell the Amazon fear,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “A Guardian journalist ran down all the ways Amazon was poised if not to fail, then to weaken in the coming years.

“What really struck me this year is that, upstairs in the Author HQ, where the self-publishers are located, there is a totally different view of Amazon. These indie authors view Amazon as liberating them.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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