Bookshops read the riot act to British Library

 

The British Library has been accused of undermining struggling independent book shops by piloting a website initiative that redirects visitors to Amazon to purchase titles.

The library's online catalogue lists more than 13 million of the more than 150 million titles owned by the library. The website's newly refurbished search system now offers browsers the option of clicking on "This item in amazon.co.uk", which redirects users to a page where they can buy a copy of the book from the online retailer.

The move has caused concern among high-street retailers because Amazon, which buys in huge quantities, is able to sell titles at a significantly reduced price.

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstone's, told The Bookseller: "It's disappointing, to say the least, that a very British institution is driving readers away from local libraries and high- street bookshops. In an environment where high-street booksellers and libraries face huge pressures, it is a shame that the British Library choose to give their endorsement to one aggressively commercial organisation."

Johnny de Falbe, co-owner of London's Sandoe bookshop, said: "The British Library, a public institution, should not be offering this link to Amazon, which is not – last I heard – a public institution.

And if the British Library, of all people, are not supporting British bookshops, and positively steering business away from independents, then why should anyone else have any faith, or interest, in independents?" A spokesman for the library said the new system was at a pilot stage. The software purchased for the new search functions can link only to Amazon, but the library insists it does not make any revenue from the redirects. The spokesman said: "The library is reviewing the success of this service."

The revelation comes at a time when independent book stores are declining as customers buy hard-copy purchases online or download e-books to read on handheld devices and tablets.

Earlier this month, the Booksellers Association launched a campaign calling on the Government to do more to help high-street retailers survive. Tim Godfray, the association's CEO, said shops with a cultural and educational value should be have their business rates reduced to prevent community hubs from becoming ghost towns.

High-street retailers have long complained that Amazon's aggressive price-cutting puts their industry at risk. The rapid rise of tablet computers and affordable e-readers is likely to have a further impact. Earlier this month Google launched its eBookstore in the UK. The service, which has been operating in the US for five months, allows people to downloadbooks to read on devices that use its Android software.

Vigil mounted to keep doors open

Campaigners in north-west London are holding a round-the-clock vigil to prevent Brent Council boarding up a library.

Around 100 Save Kensal Rise Library supporters gather daily at Kensal Rise Library and two people camp out nightly to protect the building.

A 24-hour library has also been set up. Protester Alex Canneti, 51, said: "We'll keep going until we get some kind of agreement to keep the library open. We'll remain as long as is necessary."

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk