Amazon is the supposed enemy of the Mom and Pop independent bookstore. Well, no longer. Amazon Source will give independent bookstore owners 10 percent of the revenue from future book sales on any Kindle device they sell their customers. This is a brilliant move. It is also available to chains.
The long standing complaint from independent bookstore owners is that they were bringing customers in, recommending books only to see them purchase them on Kindles — sometimes in the store. Now they can get a cut of that action. What is more, it is cheaper to buy them at the store than from Amazon.
There are some caveats. It is only available in about half of US states — it is unclear why although maybe it has to do with state-specific resale regulations. This works for all Kindles although interestingly not the Kindle app on iOS, Windows and Android devices (other than Amazon’s own). Again, that seems like a restriction not in Amazon’s interest but it is easier to imagine why that occurs. Finally, my account is strewn over multiple devices — how will Amazon account for ones bought in stores and ones bought elsewhere? Will this create an incentive for bookstores to attract and literally give Kindles to big book buying customers?
Clearly this is a big competitive challenge to other sellers of eBooks although there is no reason why they can’t offer the same thing. But a 10% return on sales of books you don’t even have to stock in quantity or accommodate customers is really interesting. It has the potential to really change how bookstores operate.