The latest chapter in the Amazon vs. Hachette showdown has brought award-winning author Sherman Alexie, who grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, and Portland's Powell's bookstore into the spotlight.
The dispute, if you're unfamiliar, is rooted in disagreement between the online everything store and book publisher Hachette over the costs of books and e-books. It's led to Amazon delaying shipments and preventing orders of Hachette books.
As it turns out, one of the authors published by Hachette is comedian Stephen Colbert. Another is National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie. So, Colbert had Alexie on his show Wednesday to discuss the issue and pose a challenge to viewers: "We're gonna prove that I can sell more books than Amazon!"
Alexie recommended California, a mid-apocalypse love story of which Amazon is preventing pre-orders. So Colbert is now selling the book on his website via a link to buy the book from Powell's in Portland. (Colbert Nation is using the hashtag #CutDownTheAmazon to rally.)
Portland's massive independent bookstore didn't know until Wednesday morning that Colbert would make the push that night and tells the Oregonian it's been swamped with orders. (The book is currently at the top of its bestsellers list.) Powell's is not yet releasing numbers of sales, saying it would allow Colbert to make the announcement on his show. (There was no mention in last night's episode.)
Alexie has been outspoken about Amazon's recent tactics, and last fall he started "Indies First," calling on fellow authors to spend a day selling their books in local independent stores and to make independent stores the first choice for buying their books online.
Yes, you can support the cause by buying California from Powell's. But even better: Get it from our own Auntie's Bookstore, which is taking orders here.