My Favorite Bookstore - Even Though I Have Never Been There

by: EJ on 06/23/2014
Posted in: Events

Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books in Seattle decided to get creative about the whole Hachette versus Amazon standoff. In an article published June 20th in the New York Times, Sindelar explained how, as a person dedicated to linking readers and books, he found Amazon's hard nosed approach unpleasant.  With Amazon blocking customers' access to Hachette's publishing list, he pondered how his small independent book store might provide something Amazon couldn't. 

His creative approach was nothing short of brilliant.  He reviewed Hachette's list for upcoming best sellers and selected the book The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith — a.k.a. J. K. Rowling.  Normally, customers would not pre-order this book from his store but Amazon had removed the pre-order button from their website.  Sindelar decided to start promoting the book on his store's website at a 20% pre-order discount, and offered to personally deliver the book on the release date. 

“I thought this would show what we as booksellers stand for,” Mr. Sindelar said in the NY Times article. “While Amazon is blocking people, we literally put the book in their hands." Sindelar lives in Seattle which is the home of Amazon and he is not participating in protests against Amazon.  He merely saw a way to capitalize on what independent booksellers do best - truly personalized service based on a relationships - not algorithms.

The NY Times article goes on to say,

“Who’s going to blink first?” mused Mr. Sindelar, the independent bookseller. “That’s what everyone wants to know. I have no idea. But a lot of our customers told us they were buying from us explicitly as a protest against Amazon. We live in Seattle, where people go to farmers’ markets. They don’t want to limit the diversity of where they shop. I think this has helped people realize that if Amazon is the only option, that’s putting way too much power in one company.”

What is your favorite bookstore up to?  Send us an e-mail to Sara [at] newsociety [dot] com and you could win a free New Society book. See our blog We Want to Hear About Your Favorite Bookstore for more information.

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