Victoria Barnsley, CEO of HarperCollins UK, told attendees at a London Book Fair session that Amazon could make more trouble for publishers than Google. Via Reuters: “We all want to talk about Google, but personally I see Amazon as a bigger threat because Amazon has shown a lot of signs that they actually want to move into the publishing space.” Among her clues: hiring of senior publishing execs and approaches to book agencies. News Corp. owns the publishing house.
On the sidelines at the same event,
Alan Giles, CEO of retailer HMV, said the company isn’t sure Amazon should continue hosting its Waterstone’s book store chain: “We are having quite an open debate with Amazon whether that is necessarily fulfilling the aspirations we’ve got in the online space.” He said the deal was right at the time but “we are due to make some changes to punch our weight on the online channel.” For its part, an Amazon spokesman tells Reuters “I think we’d argue that Amazon is a real friend to the publishing industry.”
This is the same fair that opened with a call from the publisher of Harry Potter in the UK for a boycott of Google. Bloomsbury CEO Nigel Newton: “Its quest to monetize for its own benefit the literature of the world must be stopped.”