I like, and use Amazon, as much as any averagely active buyer of stuff over the internet. That’s as a price-conscious consumer. As a reader and writer, and as someone who is generally in favour of choice and competition in as many industries and retail sectors as possible, I find them … alarming, I suppose. Not so long ago, I tended to use The Book Depository for most of my book purchases, in part specifically because they weren’t Amazon, but … oh, look. Amazon bought them. What a surprise.
So I’m a fan of anything that introduces more diversity into the online bookselling scene (because I think we can safely assume that nobody’s going to be introducing more diversity into the bricks and mortar bookselling scene any time soon). The arrival of Bookish is therefore interesting. It’s backed by three big publishers (including mine), and loads more are connected to it, so whatever anyone might say it’s undoubtedly at least in part an attempt to break Amazon’s growing stranglehold on their business.
But never mind why it’s (belatedly, since it’s been in the works for ages) here, or who’s behind it: putting my price-conscious consumer’s hat on for a second, Bookish looks like a good thing. Competitive prices for both print and e-books, loads of social features, wide range of titles etc. etc. It’s also a USA thing, so to any and all of you living on that side of the Atlantic I merely suggest: check it out, maybe give it a try.
Choice and competition matter, and they are not heading in a healthy direction at the moment. To put it mildly. Using Bookish might be one small way to nurture them.