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Change Amazon.com Can Believe In?

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GalleyCat has a great summary of the brouhaha over publishing house Chelsea Green's decision to offer Amazon.com print-on-demand coupons for its new book Obama's Challenge at the Democratic National Convention, making the book available exclusively on Amazon for a full three weeks before it hits the streets. (Full Disclosure: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, is a donor to Reason Foundation, the nonprofit organization that publishes this website.) As Chelsea Green president Margo Baldwin put it, "This election is too important to wait around for traditional publishing lead times." Strong words, though as Publishers Weekly reports, America's long-suffering independent booksellers see things differently. PW quotes one Hut Landon, the executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, who chastises Chelsea Green for its "decision to exclude independent booksellers" and derides Amazon for its "purposeful decisions to avoid sales tax collection in most states" and for "sell[ing] books at a loss when it suits their purposes." Those blackguards!

But it isn't just the mom & pop shops that are upset with this nefarious scheme. The once powerful Barnes & Noble is feeling left out, too. As company spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating told the Associated Press, "Our initial order was based on the book being available to all booksellers simultaneously—an even playing field." In retaliation, Barnes & Noble has refused to stock the book in stores. Times certainly have changed. Remember the salad days of 1998, when Meg Ryan's charming little bookstore was menaced by the Barnes & Noble stand-in run by Tom Hanks? How far the mighty have fallen.

In possibly related news, Billboard is quoting an unnamed source that says Guns & Roses' long-awaited epic, Chinese Democracy, may be released exclusively through either Wal-Mart or Best Buy. I don't know if that counts as a minus or as a plus for America's independent record shops, but there you go.

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  1. Come on. Nobody owns an independent book store because they want to make money.

  2. Do people sell drugs out of independent book stores or am I thinking of barber shops?

  3. “This election is too important to wait around for traditional publishing lead times.
    And if McCain wins I’m moving to Canada.”

    In keeping with historical blogosphere inaccuracies, I added the second part.

  4. Oh, and . . . INDUSTRY CAT FIGHT!!!!!!

    RRRRrrrrrrrrr!

  5. In possibly related news, Billboard is quoting an unnamed source that says Guns & Roses’ long-awaited epic, Chinese Democracy, may be released exclusively through either Wal-Mart or Best Buy. I don’t know if that counts as a minus or as a plus for America’s independent record shops, but there you go.

    Big minus for Axel Rose. There’s nothing more heavy metal than rocking out at the local WalMart. Will they be willing to sell it unedited?

    Methinks not…

  6. But it isn’t just the mom & pop shops that are upset with this nefarious scheme. The once powerful Barnes & Noble is feeling left out, too. As company spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating told the Associated Press, “Our initial order was based on the book being available to all booksellers simultaneously-an even playing field.” In retaliation, Barnes & Noble have refused to stock the book entirely. Times certainly have changed. Remember the salad days of 1998, when Meg Ryan’s charming little bookstore was menaced by the Barnes & Noble stand-in run by Tom Hanks? How far the mighty have fallen.

    I don’t know. Is B&N’s power on the wane? If so, I don’t see it evidenced here. There can be little doubt that “Our initial order was based on the book being available to all booksellers simultaneously”. Refusing to stock the book seems a reasonable reaction from a business standpoint to learning of the Amazon deal.

    Paper and ink may or may not be going the way of the buggy whip. But if they are, the last bookstore with it’s lights on will likely be a B&N.

  7. Yeah, Chinese Democracy. Right after 3DRealms releases Duke Nukem Forever and Sam Raimi films the sequel to Army of Darkness.

  8. Slow down Epi! IS there a sequel to “Army of Darkness” in the works?

  9. Slow down Epi! IS there a sequel to “Army of Darkness” in the works?

    Yeah, it’s opening as a double feature with “Serenity 2.”

    (Sorry Browncoats, I cried a little inside there too…)

  10. Yeah, Chinese Democracy. Right after 3DRealms releases Duke Nukem Forever and Sam Raimi films the sequel to Army of Darkness.

    I too am skeptical that Chinese Democracy will arrive any time this decade. But that’s the way Axel rolls, he’ll release it when he’s ready, got a problem with that?

  11. “Yeah, it’s opening as a double feature with “Serenity 2.”

    [sob]

  12. I need a link Taktix!!! Serenity 2? What the hell is that?

  13. Yeah, Chinese Democracy. Right after 3DRealms releases Duke Nukem Forever and Sam Raimi films the sequel to Army of Darkness.

    Personally, I think Axl Rose keeps threatening to release Chinese Democracy as an inspired attempt to remain topical and relevant without having to actually, y’know, do anything.

    And B&N will stay in business as long as they have sweetheart deals with colleges. B&N runs too many on-campus bookstores to die any time soon.

  14. Apparently Bruce Campbell is doing an indirect sequel where he plays himself and is mistaken for Ash. Who would mistake Bruce Campbell as the real Ash? Deadites apparently. No real mention of Army of Darkness 2.

  15. I’m seeing rumors of rumors that Army of Darkness 2 is being made!

  16. Naga, I believe Bruce discusses the talks that had occurred after AOD about a sequel in his book If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor. It just never coalesced, and then Raimi got too big with Spider-Man.

  17. Forget Chinese Democracy I’m still waiting for the new My Bloody Valentine CD.

    I like Barnes & Noble. I think the suburbs would be a poorer place without them to waste time in. Still, efficiency will, and should, win.

    On Netflix you can add unreleased and out-of-print movies to your Queue. As soon as they become available they shoot to the top of your queue. Is that unfair to the people who show up at their local video store regularly to see if they have released The Devils of Loudon yet?

  18. Barnes & Noble have refused to stock the book

    They both refused?

  19. Thanks, Epi.

    *sobs*

  20. BTW,
    Please, if you love cinema, sign the petition

  21. mk,

    I’m to afraid I’m going to get rickrolled if I click on your link. Need some background info first.

  22. Don’t do it, Naga! It’s a Ken Russel movie!

  23. Naga,

    I saw this on Gawker a few weeks ago. Sounded good to me.

    Sam Raimi Confirms Evil Dead 4

  24. I’ve been waiting for a legit complete release of The Devils ever since I got a DVD player.

  25. Shit, I had my hopes up but no release. I’m not going to sign the petition though.I’ll just have to wait longer to see Vanessa Redgrave use the relic femur dildo.

  26. Chinese Democracy, may be released exclusively through either Wal-Mart or Best Buy. I don’t know if that counts as a minus or as a plus for America’s independent record shops, but there you go.

    Wow, who would have thought that G&R would imitate Journey? BTW, Journey apparently had mucho success with that Wal-Mart exclusive thingy, so it’s not surprising that other dinosaur rockers are looking into it.

    As to the Chelsea Green thingy, my first reaction was “who is Chelsea Green, and is she hot?”. My second reaction was that Barnes & Noble shouldn’t get all that worked up about a political fluff book that will have a useful shelf life of about two weeks, give or take a week.

  27. As a primitive screwhead, i’m gonna listen up indeed, John-David!

  28. Yeah, Chinese Democracy. Right after 3DRealms releases Duke Nukem Forever and Sam Raimi films the sequel to Army of Darkness.

    I raise you a copy of “The Last Dangerous Visions.”

  29. I think BNs response makes sense. I would probably do the same thing. It’s probably a smart move so this sort of thing is less likely to happen in the future to them. I don’t know who holds the major market share, but I have to imagine BN is up there.

  30. Chinese Democracy, may be released exclusively through either Wal-Mart or Best Buy.

    Makes sense. A Chinese democracy would likely have a One Retailer policy.

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