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‘The impact of Amazon'

12 July 2021

‘The impact of Amazon dwarfs all the other changes, even the rise of digital. Of course, the idea of ordering a book in the morning and having it delivered in the afternoon still thrills and amazes me. But it has led to the erosion of earnings for most authors and smaller publishers, and that should worry all of us who want a diverse and healthy ecosystem for books...

I am encouraged by the way (mostly) independent publishers are beginning to innovate in their direct-to-reader offerings. Subscription services, crowd-funding, exquisitely produced merchandise: the communities that Rough Trade, Galley Beggar, Influx Press and others are building offer a commercially viable alternative to the Amazonian race to the bottom...

I think we'll see even more opportunities for online recommendation that isn't based on algorithms but on the taste of people who read. Podcasts. Substack. BookTok. The word-of-mouth revolution.'

John Mitchinson, publisher and co-founder of Unbound, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year. Despite the challenges of lockdown and high street closures, it has reported trade sales growth of 58% year on year, in Bookbrunch