Irate bookshop owners brand new Amazon eBook scheme a “dagger disguised as an olive branch”

A new Amazon initiative for selling Kindle eBook readers in independent bookshops has been greeted with criticism, with one owner describing it as a "dagger disguised as an olive branch."

Amazon Source, announced by the online retailer earlier this week, will first launch in the US and will allow independent bookshops to receive a commission on eBooks bought for devices sold in their shops.

"With Amazon Source, customers don't have to choose between e-books and their favourite neighbourhood bookstore - they can have both," Amazon said in a statement. "(Bookshops) should be striving to offer customers what they want."

However, some see this as just another way for Amazon to kill off independent bookshops. The firm two years ago released a price check app that would allow customers to get a discount on the price of book titles they found in shops.

Melville House, a New York-based publisher, gathered responses from bookshop owners and published them on its website.

"We are not enticed in the least by the latest 'offer' from Amazon," said Lissa Muscatine of Politics and Prose. "It's a dagger disguised as an olive branch – the latest effort by Amazon to gain traction with indie customers and loyalists."

Carol Horne from Harvard Book Store in Massachusetts said, "Hmmm, let's see. We sell Kindles for essentially no profit, the new Kindle customer is in our store where they can browse and discover books, the new Kindle customer can then check the price on Amazon and order the e-book.

"We make a little on their e-book purchases, but then lose them as a customer completely after two years. Doesn't sound like such a great partnership to me."

The initiative will first be run in 25 US states, with bookshops that sign up earning a 10 per cent commission from each eBook that is sold for the two years following the initial sale of the device.