International Update: Bookselling Ireland Warns About's Launch; Australian Bookseller of the Year Shortlists

Amazon's new 630,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in Dublin.

Bookselling Ireland issued a warning that the recent entry of Amazon into the Irish market with its website and a fulfillment center has sparked fears of a hollowing out of the bookselling market in the country, "with bookshops closing in towns and villages across the country as they struggle to compete with a multinational giant with a history of driving independent bookshops out of business."

Dawn Behan, chair of Bookselling Ireland, said, "We live in a free market economy, and competition is a fact of life for any bookshop, or any other SME [small and medium-sized enterprises]--but Amazon is something of an unstoppable juggernaut, and we are again asking government to think intelligently about what this is likely to mean for booksellers and other small businesses--and to consolidate and increase the supports for SMEs across government. Amazon's arrival in markets has been shown to distort those markets, and Ireland is unlikely to be any different.

"We are very skeptical of the notion that somehow Amazon benefits SMEs--market investigations in the U.S., the U.K. and across Europe have comprehensively demonstrated that the opposite is true. Amazon has been forced to change its practices on its Marketplace platform by regulators in the U.S. and in other EU countries due to the inconsistent and unfair ways it treats sellers. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is currently suing Amazon for illegal competition conduct. It seems unlikely that Amazon won't carry out that same behavior in Ireland."

To mitigate the impact of Amazon's arrival as well as changes to school book supply, Bookselling Ireland is calling on the government to introduce a culture voucher scheme for young people similar to those in place in other European countries. "This will have the twin benefit of not only broadening young people's horizons by exposing them to in-person events and institutions they wouldn't otherwise experience, but also provides vital economic support to the bookshops that nurture the cultural output of Ireland," Behan noted.

Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland, commented, "For over 25 years the Booksellers Association has fought to highlight the many benefits of local bricks and mortar bookshops in the U.K. in the face of Amazon's dominance in that market. We will fight equally hard for our members in the Republic of Ireland to ensure that Irish consumers don't lose access to the fantastic cultural and community spaces bookshops provide. From experience, Amazon's dubious track record on many issues, including the treatment of SMEs using its Marketplace platform, leads us to urge ministers to be cautious in celebrating the arrival of its .ie domain."


BookPeople, the association for Australian bookshops, has released shortlists for its 2024 Bookseller of the Year awards, honoring individual booksellers for outstanding achievements during the past 12 months. The winners are celebrated for their exceptional performance within their bookshops, notable achievements in the broader book industry, and contributions to both the local and wider community. This award offers booksellers the chance to be acknowledged by the book industry for their innovation, excellence, and career accomplishments. Check out the complete list of finalists in each category here.

Winners will be named, along with the Book of the Year Awards, at the BookPeople conference's gala dinner and awards night on June 16 in Melbourne.


Jennie Arado

Writer Jennie Arado launched the Alitaptap Bookshop in Koronadal Proper, Philippines, on May 1. SunStar reported that "her passion for writing and reading served as inspiration, but so did her desire to uplift Filipino authors and readers. She aims to provide access to books and foster a reading culture in her hometown."

"When I left home to work somewhere else, I discovered a lot of good books and where to find them. I found out there are good books written by Filipinos for Filipinos. But they're not available in my city. So I wanted to help increase interest in reading books through Alitaptap Bookshop," said Arado, adding: "Alitaptap Bookshop is more than just a bookshop. We want it to be a place of collaboration for local writers, artists, and advocates." 

SunStar noted that the "establishment of a local bookshop is a much-needed addition to the region, fostering the growth of a vibrant literary community. It becomes a beacon for book lovers and aspiring writers alike." --Robert Gray

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