I finished The Everything Store by Brad Stone last week and it’s made me think more than I usually like to about the publishing industry. (By the way, if you are a bookseller and you have not read this book yet, you are doing yourself an extreme disservice. If you are a librarian who hasn’t read this book yet, you’re doing yourself a normal amount of disservice.)
One of the interesting takeaways I got from this book is just how little Jeff Bezos cares about the opinions of book industry people. I wonder, is this one of the reasons book people have such a visceral dislike for him? (I mean, aside from the dozen other good reasons.) In an industry where how other people regard you, your reputation, your overall status are pretty crucial to success—the stakes are so high because the pay is so low, that sort of thing—are we partially just annoyed that he doesn’t care how annoyed we are? And is it even more annoying is it to feel held in the palm of someone’s hand who doesn’t seem to remember you’re there? Or care either way?
Anyway, because this annoyance seems to rest on the fact that people regard him as so influential, and perhaps the most influential person in the book industry, that made me wonder about whether he was. I’m not being coy here—I really don’t know what I think about this. Or whether it’s even important. And I would like to hear what other people think. Who is it, hmmmm?