Most of us have something of a love-hate relationship with Amazon. Yes, all that convenience and so on, but much of it at the expense of hugely underpaid warehouse workers and delivery drivers. If you are an author, particularly a self-published author, you cannot manage without the Zon, end of. Their free-to-use self-pub software and free-to-list facilities do mean that anyone who wants to do so can put a book out there (whether this is always advisable is a topic for multiple other blogposts).
In the early days of the pandemic, there was a certain amount of chatter going on about how many people were buying books, and indie bookshops were among the businesses rapidly adapting to online and mailorder selling. As a bookseller previously accustomed to event trading,who obviously couldn’t go to fairs and markets in the spring, I have had something of a rethink regarding this site, and there are going to be further changes in the near future.
Bookshops have now mostly re-opened, and I am gearing up for another LAM special event, this time north of London rather than on the south coast.
However, independent publishers and independent bookshops, like many other industries not classed as ‘essential’ but which are still important, find themselves struggling. A trending tag on Twitter this week was #JustOneBook started by small publisher Salt but it’s worth noting, for the sake of bookshops and little publishers, who tend to produce far more interesting stuff if you go and seek them out, that if more of us bought #justonebook a month, from someone other than Jeff, who has way more than enough money, the diverse, vibrant, inclusive, life-enriching thing that is the independent bookselling business would stand more of a chance of staying afloat.
There are clearly further uncertain times ahead, but books may well help us through them. Especially if we support our small-scale book producers, publishers,and bookshops. Just as people are more inclined to shop locally and in non-chain outlets for their food, clothing and other stuff, we can do it for books. And obviously if you want something naughty for the bedside table, you can buy your #justonebook here.