You may not be able to find Timothy Ferriss’s “The Four Hour Chef,” published by Amazon, at your local brick and mortar bookstore.
Now that publication is at hand, that future looks messy and angry. Barnes & Noble, struggling to remain relevant in Amazon’s shadow, has been emphatic that it will not carry its competitor’s books. Other large physical and digital stores seem to be uninterested or even opposed to the book. Many independent stores feel betrayed by Mr. Ferriss, whom they had championed. They will do nothing to help him if it involves helping a company they feel is hellbent on their destruction.
“At a certain point you have to decide how far you want to nail your own coffin shut,” said Michael Tucker, owner of the Books Inc. chain here. “Amazon wants to completely control the entire book trade. You’re crazy if you want to play that game with them.”
Bill Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage, a large store in suburban Marin County, expressed similar reservations. “We don’t think it’s in our best interests to do business with Amazon,” he said.
You may be able to special order the book from these stores.
The irony, he added, is that the $35 book was meant to be inviting to the casual browser. Amazon can do many things, but it still cannot let readers examine a book before buying. “This is the kind of book that physical booksellers would be most excited to sell,” Mr. Ferriss said.
Amazon is also fighting with other giants.
There is constant jockeying for position. Amazon, for instance, is at odds with Wal-Mart and Target, both of which have stopped selling the Kindle, worried that it is a Trojan horse that will lure their customers away.
These are interesting developments that will affect publishing for many years. I can’t wait to see how things pan out.