The largest online retailer of the world Amazon has delivered another shocker to the world. the company that has been long accused of killing off bricks-and-mortar book sales has donated £250,000 to a fund that is aimed at helping out book stores that have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Book Trade Charity of the United Kingdom, the donation was initially made by the United States based tech giant on a very “low-key” basis.
However amid growing speculations about the donation, the charity was forced to reveal that the donor of the amount was Amazon.
He realized some booksellers would find that difficult, said the charity’s chief executive David Hicks.
The objective of the existence of the Book Trade Charity was to provide support to the entire book industry, from small and large publishers to small book shops, Hicks said in an interview to the BBC. This objective of the charity under the current circumstances was to help out all those book sellers who are facing financial problems and the lockdown and business closures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic has forced them into dire situation. The charity has opened and is running a fund for this purpose.
“Amazon came to us and said they would like to put some money into our fund, particularly to help at this time and that they would prefer it to be low-key,” Hicks said.
He said that this was the reason that the name of Amazon as a donor to the fund was initially not revealed by charity even though keeping the identify of donors anonymous was not planned by it.
But that decision led to increased questions being raised by the industry about the source of the donation, particularly after the trade publication, the Bookseller, published a report about a mysterious donor who had donated £250,000 out of the £380,000 raised so far by the charity.
He had been “very pleased” to accept the donation in the interests of the charity, Hicks said. .
He however also said that he was “conscious that that does give a little bit of difficulty to some booksellers”. “A large part of the trade, particularly on the publishing side, works very closely with Amazon,” he said.
“But the bookselling side does have rather a more strained relationship.”
There were already some reactions visible in the UK book selling industry with the revelations of the news. The editor of the Bookseller, Philip Jones, had tweeted that it was “extraordinary.”
(Adapted from BBC.com)