In Amazon’s early days there was a hint of a benevolent and philanthropic spirit in its business model, but the ogre of profit at all costs has overtaken all other considerations
TUMBY BAY - Michael Dom and I have just endured an incredibly dispiriting battle with Amazon Kindle over an extremely trivial matter of copyright involving the Ples Singsing anthology of student essays from the 2020 competition.
This issue has thankfully now been resolved and the anthology is available on Amazon as both an eBook and a paperback.
But the matter drew my attention once more to the times when there was a kinder Kindle.
Amazon served us well in the days of the Crocodile Prize but the company has evolved into a gargantuan monster which gobbles up and spits out organisations like Ples Singsing for breakfast.
For some time now it has refused to ship books to ‘shithole’ countries [thank you Donald Trump] like Papua New Guinea, necessitating double handling and double costs as the books must come through Australia to get them to PNG.
In Amazon’s early days there was a hint of a benevolent and philanthropic spirit in its business model but the ogre of profit at all costs has overtaken all other considerations.
While Amazon is still a viable option for writers in Australia and other ‘non-shithole’ countries, it is no longer a practical option for PNG writers.
So I totally agree with Michael that it’s time for PNG to set up its own small print-on-demand industry to supply the local market.
I'd go so far as to suggest that, once such businesses were operating, editing, proofreading and publication processes would follow in their wake.
Many years ago, the University of PNG Bookshop was looking at setting up its own print-on-demand service in association with the University of Melbourne, but nothing came of it.
Now is definitely the right time for reconsidering that idea.
‘Rait ples, rait papagraun, rait pipol’ is a delightful slogan that such an industry could adopt.