Global antiquarian bookseller strike brings Amazon to its knees

When Amazon division Abebooks — the largest platform for antiquarian booksellers in the world — announced it would blacklist stores in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, South Korea and Russia, citing nebulous transaction-processing difficulties — 600 antiquarian booksellers in 27 countries went on strike, withdrawing their 4,000,000 titles from Abebooks.

Two days later, Amazon reversed its policy and promised that booksellers in the affected countries would continue to be welcome on its platform.

Despite the victory, the lesson that some booksellers have taken away from the event is that Amazon does not have their interests at heart and that their efforts should be focused on selling off of Amazon's platform.

"AbeBooks was saying entire countries were expendable to its plans," said Scott Brown, a Eureka, Calif., bookseller who was an organizer of the strike. "Booksellers everywhere felt they might be next."

The matter was apparently resolved when Sally Burdon, an Australian bookseller who is president of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, spoke with Arkady Vitrouk, chief executive of AbeBooks. In a Wednesday email to her members after their talk, Ms. Burdon said Mr. Vitrouk apologized for the platform's behavior "a number of times" and said booksellers in the affected countries would not be dropped as scheduled on Nov. 30.

"Arkady told us that ABE are very well aware of the mistake they have made," she wrote in the email, which was viewed by The New York Times. "He stated that it was a 'bad decision' and that they deeply regret the hurt and harm they have caused."

After Protest, Booksellers Are Victorious Against Amazon Subsidiary [David Streitfeld/New York Times]

Kheel Center

(via Naked Capitalism)