The Incidental Bookseller


In n+1‘s continuing examination of Amazon, Ruth Curry, co-founder of online bookstore Emily Books, looks at the relationship of the online megastore to publishers. Amazon’s entry into the publishing world was an accident:

Amazon was only incidentally a bookseller: Bezos liked books because online shoppers didn’t have to try them on or smell or measure them. In the online world, books were the ultimate widget, nothing more.

But once entrenched, Amazon quickly began dictating terms. Instead of saving publishing from the grip of Barnes and Noble, the online retailer now threatens both.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →