There have been countless underhanded salutes, passive aggressive back-turns, and middle finger smiles between Amazon, publishing houses such as Random House and Penguin (Merger News), and book stores such as Barnes & Noble, each selfishly buttressing themselves against the storm that is swirling in the literary world.
In that vein, Barnes & Noble has unloaded a warning salvo off Amazon’s bow by refusing to stock any authors’ books who are directly published through Amazon; specifically, Timothy Ferriss, writer of The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and his newest The 4-Hour Chef.
Interestingly enough, Timothy Ferriss came to New Jersey and trained with a friend of mine while researching for The 4-Hour Body – look for the Asshole at DeFranco’s if you happen to read the book.
But I digress.
You can’t fault Barnes & Noble for not wanting to stock a competitor’s books – although they would receive a percentage of the sale, the majority heads back to the publisher, who, in this case, is Amazon.
But Barnes & Noble is playing a very dangerous game by taking on Amazon, who is far and away the titan of book-selling. It is undoubtedly going to become a habit of one-upmanship - if this were 1885, there would be showdowns at high noon – and each company will hack away at the legs of one another.
Random House and Penguin merged in an effort to defend against Amazon – and many believe more publishing houses will merge in the foreseeable future – so this is Barnes & Noble’s attempt to ward off the Evil Empire that is Amazon, who have become the Yankees and Patriots of the book world.
It will be interesting to see who takes the next shot and what sort of power they put behind it.