Barefoot Books breaks up with Amazon


Barefoot Books is a small house based in Cambridge, Mass., that publishes children’s book. As of this week, you can call it “The Mouse that Roared.”

The people who run Barefoot Books are frustrated with the business practices of Amazon, the massive Seattle-based online retailer. So this week, Barefoot Books finally said: Amazon, we want to break up with you.

“The challenges we have faced doing business with Amazon over the years are similar to those we experienced selling to the big box retail chains,” Barefoot Books’ co-founder and CEO Nancy Traversy said in a news release. “Personal relationships with buyers are rare, particularly when you’re a small publisher. Our books become commodities that are usually heavily discounted and Amazon often starts selling them before we have even received our advance copies from the printer.”


For Barefoot Books, no longer selling via Amazon is in keeping with the core values proclaimed on its website and in the video above, especially the very first one: “We offer books that are an authentic alternative to the commercialization of childhood.”

In 2006, Barefoot Books stopped selling books in the big U.S. chains Barnes and Noble and Borders.

As Publisher’s Weekly writes, Barefoot Books will instead “focus on selling direct through its bookstore/studios in Concord, Mass., and Oxford, England, and its boutique in FAO Schwarz in New York City.” The company will also offer its books on its website, and expand its “Ambassador” network of home-based sellers, which has been growing at a rate of 16% a month, according to Barefoot.

Barefoot Books is also terminating its relationship with Amazon in the United Kingdom, where the online seller has come under fire recently for its relatively small tax bill there: a mere 3.2 million British pounds on 4.2 billion British pounds in U.K. sales last year.


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