After Protest, Booksellers Are Victorious Against Amazon Subsidiary

Vic Zoschak, president of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, was optimistic on the sudden resolution. “I choose to believe yesterday’s dialogue between the two camps will be but a start to improved communications and relations, each dedicated to a continued win-win association,” he said.

Experts in selling on Amazon said that such parity was difficult to achieve.

“I don’t think anything like this has ever happened before with any part of Amazon,” said Juozas Kaziukenas, chief executive of Marketplace Pulse, an e-commerce analytics firm. “It would be much harder to have a strike on Amazon itself, just because there are so many sellers there and they are not part of an organized community.”

He added, “Whoever owns the platform owns the power. As a seller you are a small module in a massively complicated system. If a thousand of you say you will not do something anymore, 2,000 others will replace you. This is the harsh reality of being a seller.”

For Mr. Brown of Eureka Books, the lesson of Banned Booksellers Week was clear.

“We are entirely subject to their whims,” he said of Amazon. “We need to spend more time focusing our energies on our own business outside of the Amazon ecosphere.”

There was recently an effort to organize Amazon sellers as a trade association called the Online Merchants Guild. It was largely focused on sales tax issues, but the group said on its website that “the sky’s the limit in terms of how we can leverage our collective strength to improve the quality of life for all members.”

If nothing else, Banned Booksellers Week was the sort of public relations stumble for Amazon that seems a bit more common than it once was.

The company thrives on secrecy, preferring to release minimal information. It began as a bookseller and is now the largest in the world, controlling more of the market than any bookseller has ever done, and yet the number of serious books about Amazon itself could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

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