…they aren’t ‘aggressively commercial’ enough:
James Daunt, managing director of Waterstone’s, told The Bookseller: “It’s disappointing, to say the least, that a very British institution is driving readers away from local libraries and high- street bookshops. In an environment where high-street booksellers and libraries face huge pressures, it is a shame that the British Library choose to give their endorsement to one aggressively commercial organisation.”
Oh, how unfair! If only you’d thought of getting in first and doing a deal with them, eh? Oh, well. That’s business, James.
Johnny de Falbe, co-owner of London’s Sandoe bookshop, said: “The British Library, a public institution, should not be offering this link to Amazon, which is not – last I heard – a public institution.”
But neither is Sandoe Bookstore. Is it?
A spokesman for the library said the new system was at a pilot stage. The software purchased for the new search functions can link only to Amazon, but the library insists it does not make any revenue from the redirects. The spokesman said: “The library is reviewing the success of this service.”
Now, that’s the only thing I can take issue with – if it’s possible for the British Library to make some money from those sponsored links, why is it not doing so?
And as for this review, who is it asking? If it’s library customers, fair enough. If it’s whinging rivals, well, why should they have their gripes entertained?
Earlier this month, the Booksellers Association launched a campaign calling on the Government to do more to help high-street retailers survive. Tim Godfray, the association’s CEO, said shops with a cultural and educational value should be have their business rates reduced to prevent community hubs from becoming ghost towns.
Businesses that can’t change or adapt should go to the wall. Not to the government for subsidies. That’s just life…