While one can understand an attack on Waterstone's for its dull, one-size-fits-all stores, Amazon is the most exciting bookshop in the world. It's Willy Wonka's Book Factory, Disneyland for bibliophiles. Those who want a return to the days of the small independents are the real fantasy merchants.Look, I'm genuinely sorry for the owners of independent bookstores, and for those readers lucky enough to live near a really good one who are now watching it flounder because of Amazon and big box bookstores, but the fact is that for most readers (and I'm including, and probably concentrating on, English readers in non-English speaking countries), independents are not a bookish mecca. If you're like me, your local bookstore is understocked and overpriced, and its selection rarely deviates from whatever thriller is at the top of the bestseller lists this week. Science fiction and fantasy? Forget it, unless your tastes run to Robert Jordan and Terry Brooks. And, of course, everything's available at a markup of 50-100% of the cover price.
To put it simply, here are a few books I never would have read if it hadn't been for Amazon.