Melville House's marketing director for the UK, Zeljka Marosevic, has reported at the Melville House blog on the call from independent booksellers in the UK for government support to combat the rise and rise of Amazon.
She notes that the French minister for culture, Aurélie Filippetti, is investigating ways to support French independent booksellers to the tune of a 9-million-euro joint plan, and wonders why the Brits won't do the same:
While Filippetti has been working on plans which will invest money into modernising bookshops and helping them set up online platforms, considering whether to ban Amazon from offering free postage and packaging (which disadvantages bookshops) and generally showing how she will protect French literary and cultural life, Boris Johnson has been celebrating Amazon’s announcement to establish offices in London, Amazon has been earning more money from UK government grants than it has paid in taxes, and our culture minister Maria Miller has been…well, aside from patronising the arts world, it isn’t clear what Miller has been doing.
But UK bookshops continue to speak out. Jane Howe, owner of the wondrous Broadway Books in East London (check them out here) said:
”We really need the government to do something to protect independent bookshops. We are the heart of the community – sometimes you are the only person that a customer has spoken to all week. If the government want to keep any type of integrity in any high street they’ve got to support small businesses. It would be really wonderful if they took notice of what France is trying.”