Amazon’s revelation as anonymous £250,000 book store fund donor dubbed “horrible irony”

Amazon has been revealed as the anonymous benefactor that donated £250,000 to help independent UK bookshops survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

A fundraiser was launched last month by the London Review Bookshop’s Gayle Lazda, Picador’s Kishani Widyaratna alongside Daunt Books published Zelika Marosevic.

Originally the fund aimed to raise just £10,000 to provide support to local book shops which have been forced to close across the UK during lockdown.

High profile authors including Adam Kay and David Nicholls, as well as major organisations like Penguin Random House and the Booksellers Association soon pledged their support, seeing the target raised significantly to £100,000.

The fund’s success took another dramatic turn on Wednesday, when an anonymous donor pledged £250,000, bringing the total to nearly £380,000.

According to the Book Trade Charity, which is acting as the fund’s administrator, the donor said at the time that “they are committed to independent bookshops as part of a mixed bookselling economy and they want to show some support”.

Given that Amazon has regularly been referred to as the antithesis of independent book sellers, with many citing its prominence as the key reason for the sector’s struggles, it was revealed a day later to be the donor.

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While the organisers’ initially called the donation “truly astonishing”, stating that it had put the fund in “a very string position to help even more booksellers”, sentiments soon turned.

After Lazda said thank you to “the mystery donor, whoever you are” on Twitter, she soon took aim at Amazon on the social media platform stating that there “is no greater threat to high-street bookselling than Amazon”.

She added that the “horrible irony of this donation will be lost on none of us”, while calling Amazon’s labour practices a “well-documented disgrace” and urging Jeff Bezos to “pay your taxes pal”.

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