So not only is the commercial mega giant buying souls, limbs and backstreet products made in unlawful Chinese warehouses (probably – just scroll through recent Daily Mail articles, there’s bound to be something on there), Amazon has leaked the fact that it’ll soon be attempting to buy our long term affection and loyalty by offering us books by the thousand for the same price as a Pret a Manger sandwich.
(Unless you do Pret the homeless way).
Or at least it will be for those customers residing in the US. Us UK versions will have to wait until it's rinsed the Americans dry, and then realises it can probably squeeze some juice out of us if it adds a few more Charles Dickens novels to the list.
Our current relationship with Amazon is a very temporal one, instigated by the loss of house scissors, burnable CDs or other items which are currently impossible to purchase on the high street for anything under a weeks’ wage. But now it has concocted a way of luring the masses into subscription mode and eternal devotion in a way that Amazon Prime never really managed (other than for that first free month of next day deliveries).
Hopefully those with any literary sense/taste/knowledge/human kindness in their hearts left for those poor independent booksellers will see past this attempted book-apocalypse and recognise that unless you’re feeling an overriding desperation to read The Da Vinci Code for the fourteenth time this year, Kindle Unlimited is not going to be the best birthday membership gift for those who have any attachment to the beauty of the written word. If the current selection on paid-for books is anything to go by, thems going to be slim pickings as you scroll through Susan Boyle biography after biography, desperately seeking something with more than one syllable, perhaps a Beat poet beyond Kerouac, or something that doesn’t feature on the Richard and Judy prize winner list.
The internet is already the biggest creep going, stalking our every move and second-guessing each of our decisions: oh you searched for an image of ‘peanuts’? Well what about this wholesale annual supply of peanuts, or a 9.99 subscription to peanutlovers.com? It'll eventually batter you down until your house is made of peanuts and you cackle with joy in the night when some unsuspecting prey children stumble into your peanutty-lair. The internet knows you. Better than you know you. In fact, you don’t even need to know you anymore because it has created you, User Number 3108756924.
In book terms, this means one thing and one thing only; that we’re all going to be subjected to a vicious cycle of literary trash so difficult to escape from that we’re not even going to be able to decipher which books are trash anymore because they all will be. And as the ruler of books, Amazon will create them and supply them unto us.
Let me explain how this will work:
1. Sign up for Kindle Unlimited. Browse selection. Find only trash.
2. Read trash to validate purchase.
3. Discover trash an easy and quick read. Finish trash.
4. Amazon realises trash is finished. Quickly recommends next in trash lit series.
5. Read next trash. Develop taste for simple, predicable plot lines with familiar characters in world of constant developments and change.
6. Due to sheep-like nature of human, trash praised worldwide. Actively seek next trash.
7. By fifth trash ‘novel’, slowly put kindle on floor, turn around and walk back into sea. Devolve once again into amoebas of past.
All books will then be written by Amazon themselves who, in a Netflix-like move, will begin to record our preferences for good-looking vampires with a tragic past easily solved by a high school romance with a girl who has a penchant for bondage. Then, after jumping up and down with two feet on bookshops around the globe, it'll wrap it up and add it to our Amazon wish list. The end.