The first customer of the day today is one of our favourite local authors, a lady who has supported us from the day we first opened.
She asks me if she can order a book.
I look the book up for her and tell her that it looks like it will take about a week to come in.
She nods and then asks, almost as an afterthought, and how much is it?
It's fifteen ninety nine, I tell her.
She pauses, but it's seven ninety nine on Am*zon, she says.
Is it? I say. My heart sinks.
I'm no expert, she says, but why can't you order it from Amaz*n and then charge me ten ninety nine?
Well, there's the postage, I say, hopelessly, and also, it would be admitting defeat.
But seven ninety nine? How can that be? She asks.
Well, I say, it's because, UK publishers already give the biggest terms in the world, far larger than the US and Australia, to Amaz*n.
I continue, and when I have finished telling my customer that publishers are now complaining that the only people benefiting from the *value chain* are Amaz*n and that if it carries on like this, they are worried that pretty soon there won't be any bookshops left (Twats. Cake. Eat.), I am foaming at the mouth (possibly), and our lovely local author customer is looking a bit startled.
Don't worry, she says, I'll still buy it from you.
Thank you, I say. And I mean it.