Independent bookstores about NPR links to Amazon

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Independent bookstores about NPR links to Amazon

Jul 01 2007

Publishers Weekly reports independent bookstores' frustrations that despite the fact that many underwrite their local National Public Radio stations, NPR links to Amazon.com for sales, both at a national and, often, regional level. NPR VP for communications Andi Sporkin says the link is a service for its listeners, not an endorsement of Amazon.

"It's a huge issue," said Susan Novotny, owner of Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany, N.Y., "because many of us underwrite our local NPR stations. And it isn't cheap, anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 a year." Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, N.H., comments that for NPR to funnel book sales to Amazon, "makes us come across looking like chumps while Amazon rakes it in.";

Carole Horne, general manager of Harvard Book Store is frustrated that her local station, WBUR, actively encourage listeners who plan to shop at Amazon to start at the WBUR website so that WBUR get the affiliate commission. Not only is Horne upset at WBUR linking to Amazon when her bookstore has underwritten the station for years but she also finds it upsetting because NPR listeners are more likely to understand the importance of shopping locally, but messages like WBUR's give them a reason not to.

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