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Is Amazon trying to monopolise the book readers market?

Amazon seems to be getting very restrictive recently both towards authors and readers. It seems Amazon is trying to increase sales and monopolise the market by forcing authors and sites such as GoodReads to link only to them.

Amazon is forcing authors to restrict their books to only Amazon and I’ll talk about how they’re doing that in a few days.

With readers Amazon seems to be playing a different game. Its targeting sites like GoodReads that use the Amazon API for book data. The new terms of the Amazon API licensing agreement are very restrictive. Amazon requires that books on GoodReads link for sales only to Amazon.com. No other book sites are allowed. The other requirement is that the API data not be used on mobile sites and apps.

This may not impact GoodReads but it impacts us readers. Amazon in simple words is saying we can buy only for them and no one else. That is an infringement on our freedom to choose. GoodReads has chosen to not give in to Amazon and instead move away to other data sources. This means we can continue to compare prices across bookstores. This also means that we can continue to use GoodReads both as a website and an app on the mobile.

Good work GoodReads!

GoodReads has sent out emails to users telling them about moving away from Amazon and asking for help with book details. Here the email I received.

“Dear Freya,

We want to let you know about a change on our site that is impacting some of the books on your shelves. It’s important that you read this and take action by Monday, January 30.

For years, we’ve used Amazon’s data for information such as the book title, author, and publication date. Unfortunately, the terms required by Amazon have now become so restrictive that we decided it makes better sense to work with other data sources. However, the deadline to make the transition is Amazon’s, and they have told us that we must stop using their data by January 30. We have to meet this deadline.

We’ve been adding data from other sources and now know which books still need help. You are receiving this email because we need new sources for 2 of the book on your shelves.

First, please be assured that none of your reviews or ratings are in danger. Not a single review, comment, shelving, or rating will be lost in this transition. We have a system in place to preserve your reviews and comments for any books at risk until we can find new sources. That’s the most important thing—your data is 100 percent safe.

What can you do? The good news is you can rescue your books. Saving a book is easy. Just click the “Rescue Me!” button next to each book edition that needs help, and fill in the information on the following page. A few keystrokes can help preserve these books for millions of future readers.

It takes only a few clicks, and you will be doing your part to make sure these books remain available for other readers like you. We appreciate the passion you bring to Goodreads, and we apologize for the short notice. If we could have prevented this inconvenience in any way, we would have done it. Ultimately, this change will be better for the members of Goodreads and long-term success of the site.

If you don’t want to rescue your books, you can also export your books to a spreadsheet so you have a record of them.

All the best,
Otis & Elizabeth
Goodreads Founders”

I rescued two books and am happy and proud to be a part of GoodReads. Amazon monopolizing the book market seems so like what publishers have done for ages; it should be stopped.

What do you think? Should Amazon be allowed to monopolise the book market? Have you help out with books on GoodReads? Do you support GoodReads?

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