American Booksellers Association on Odyssey Editions: ‘Bad’

The American Booksellers Association has registered their take on Andrew Wylie’s e-book deal with Amazon. Echoing the complaints voiced by other groups, they’re concerned about granting exclusivity to the online retailer. ABA CEO Oren Teicher had this to say:

The issues sparked by evolving business models in the rapidly developing world of digital publishing are multifaceted and, at times, complex. However, from the perspective of independent booksellers one important reality is unchanged: Diminishing the availability of titles and narrowing the options for readers can only harm our society in the long run. That the Wylie agency has sought to distribute these works through a single retailer is bad for the book industry and bad for consumers. Books—in whatever format—are crucibles of ideas and unique expression, and we should be doing all that we can to expand, not constrict, readers’ access to them.

Some booksellers have offered a more colorful response. Last Week, Square Books in Mississippi set up a window display featuring books by Wylie authors and a sign reading “THESE BOOKS NOT FOR SALE.” A post on the store’s website encouraged readers “to think about the ramifications of this effort to vertically integrate the book industry and limit or exclude access to information and free expression.” They also explained that they were not actually refusing to sell the books in question.

“That wouldn’t be smart!” they wrote in response to a confused reader.