Kaboom – navigating the moral minefield of selling a book on Amazon


My friends, I am fairly confident, love me. But many of them refuse to buy my book on Amazon.

I understand fully that the socially and environmentally conscious steer clear of Amazon. Zero-hours contracts, and tax avoision, who can blame them? But what is an independent author to do? All online retail is morally tainted to some degree, depriving high streets of custom and clogging residential streets with CO2 emitting delivery trucks, but in order to find readers one has to use the available channels. And to reach a readership outside of one’s social circle, without the resources of publishing companies (most of which are now owned by multinational conglomerates with their own dubious ethical quagmires to pick one’s way across), I am obliged to go where the readers are.

I thought long and hard before choosing a publishing platform that boasted access to 70,000 outlets via Amazon’s print-on-demand service. Turns out a lot of that was bull, but back then it was persuasive enough that I am now committed until April 2020 at least. If I can only crack this marketing malarkey, in theory I could recoup at least some of the money I’ve spent on self-publishing. Perhaps even turn a profit, some of which will be tithed to the charity I used to work for and still support, Transition Town Totnes.

Because the biggest local independent bookshop on my high street refuses to stock it. Their reasoning? It is not available from wholesalers (exept Amazon, whom they abhor for killing off independent bookshops, forgetting Waterstones had already done that). And so it is too much paperwork. They do have independent local authors on their shelves but won’t take on any more until one of them dies. Hmmm. Knowing if that happens will be difficult unless I make a habit of popping by frequently to ask, “Anyone dead yet?” which seems rather distasteful.

So, my book is available from Castle St Community Bookshop and Arcturus in Totnes – from the dreaded A****n and iTunes (Apple books), and direct from me, via emailing sophiegb@me.com, or contacting me through this blog site.


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