Big book distributor to be bought by slightly larger book distributor?

Holy shit: this, from Publishers Weekly, is terrible news:

The Ingram Content Group has made a tentative offer to buy the retail wholesaling operation of Baker & Taylor, and the Federal Trade Commission has launched what it is calling “very preliminary investigation” of the proposed deal, sources told PW. The Ingram bid was made about a month ago, sources said.

If you've never worked in a bookstore this might sound like inside baseball. But if you shop at independent bookstores, this is something that could very well affect you. If the largest book distributor in the country buys the second-largest book distributor in the country, bookstores will likely be facing a monopoly situation — one in which Ingram can set the terms however they like.

It's true that bookstores will still be able to order titles directly from the publisher, but distributors are an important part of the book business — they're more expensive to buy from than the publishers, but they're faster and more efficient. If there's less competition in the distribution field, however, the incentive to be fast and efficient goes away.

This might sound like scaremongering to you, but there's already a clear example of what happens to a business when there's only one distributor: comics shops around the country get their product from the only comics distributor in the business, Diamond. And I don't know if you've heard lately, but comics retail is...not doing great.

The American Booksellers Association should be using the entirety of its power to fight this potential deal. Ingram buying Baker & Taylor will not benefit independent booksellers in the least — in fact, it is guaranteed to harm them. Please contact the ABA and tell them to take up this charge. We can't trust the Trump Administration to do the right thing and block this monopoly in the making.