I'm a little late commenting on this piece of news from The Guardian:
A children's author has drawn attention to the plight of independent bookshops by demanding that his book be removed from sale on Amazon's UK website.
George Walker, author of Tales from an Airfield, was horrified to find that his new title was featured on the site without his permission, following good sales in bookshops. "What they are actually doing is getting the independents to do their market research," said Mr Walker, a passionate advocate of independents. "When a book gets a certain amount of attention, they will attempt to stock it and cut the independents out. Not with my book!"
I wouldn't be so quick to say that Amazon is always the Big Bad. Amazon.com and its various international mirror sites do make competition harder for the independents -- but Amazon is a competitive alternative to local bookstores. In certain countries where censorship is oppressive, and books are banned from local bookstores under threats of persecution, Amazon offers a means of subverting these unfair laws.
Mr Walker may also have neglected the fact that having his books available on Amazon allows his books to be made available to a wider readership. Local and international. If I am interested in Mr Walker's books, and they are only available in UK independent bookstores - it actually penalises me, the potential reader, for not living in the UK. Amazon has allowed me access to a lot of foreign materials that local bookstores do not carry.
Then there is the fact that some readers use Amazon as a research base, and go out to the brick-and-mortar bookstores for the books they find interested. For customers like these, the bookstores can benefit from the Amazon listing.
From the writer's perspective I agree he has a right to do what he did. And it's great that he's trying to support the independent booksellers that supported his books. It takes conviction, for Mr Walker to demand to be unlisted. And this deserves some applause.