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Local Bookstores Take Aim at Amazon

11 November 2017

From Seven Days:

It should come as no surprise that independent bookstores are more than a little miffed at online monolith Amazon. But mom-and-pop book shops aren’t the only businesses affected by the retail giant’s ever-expanding reach and dominance. The massive corporation captures one of every two American dollars spent online. That’s according to a 2016 report published by Stacy Mitchell and Olivia LaVecchia of the nonprofit advocacy group Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

But two Vermont bookstores are fighting back — or at least, talking about fighting back. Phoenix Books, Northshire Bookstore and local news website VTDigger present a pair of public discussions this week with Mitchell as the featured speaker. The idea: Present listeners with enough info to arm them for the coming retail war — or, more likely (and less dramatically), the long, slow, uphill trudge.

. . . .

Mitchell’s and LaVecchia’s report is frightening, at least to store owners. The writers describe Amazon not just as a massive retailer but as a many-tentacled monster — seriously, the word “tentacle” is repeated often — that is slowly taking over the publishing, television, movie and food industries. According to Mitchell and LaVecchia, Amazon even has a partnership with the Central Intelligence Agency.

But the two view Amazon as more than than just an overgrown bully to local booksellers. They see the company as a fundamental threat to the fabric of society itself.

“Amazon’s increasing dominance comes with high costs,” reads the report’s introduction.  “It’s eroding opportunity and fueling inequality, and it’s concentrating power in ways that endanger competition, community life and democracy. And yet these consequences have gone largely unnoticed thanks to Amazon’s remarkable invisibility and the way its tentacles have quietly extended their reach.”

Link to the rest at Seven Days and thanks to Dave for the tip.

PG suggests that being one of the most admired companies in the United States (and probably much of the world) is a bit inconsistent with the “remarkable invisibility” of Amazon.  Additionally, the word, “tentacles” appearing in any document not related to biology is a pretty reliable indicator of propaganda of one sort or another in PG’s reading experience.

PG checked out the website for The Institute for Self Reliance, the organization that sponsored the report described in the OP. The ISR appears to be against Amazon, Walmart and large utility companies and in favor of below-market rents for small businesses, regulated advertising, food scrap recovery policies and bans on non-refillable bottles.

Amazon, Bookstores

8 Comments to “Local Bookstores Take Aim at Amazon”

  1. I remember socialist propaganda from the ’30s that advocated for centralized control of manufacturing, so that the population could go to one place for all their needs. Now we have Amazon.

  2. This is just another whiny play for sympathy because their business model can’t compete with the market innovations. Wah-Wah-Wah.

  3. Present listeners with enough info to arm them for the coming retail war — or, more likely (and less dramatically), the long, slow, uphill trudge.

    Consumers aren’t at war. Listeners probably are.

  4. Local Bookstores Take Aim at Amazon . . .

    . . . and shoot themselves in the foot.

    I’m no retail genius, but would it not serve their bottom line better to take aim at satisfying the wants of their customers?

    “Complaining is not a business strategy.” Who said that?

  5. “Local Bookstores Take Aim at Amazon”

    Really? Take aim? At what? What are they going to do better than Amazon is? And please don’t tell me their staff knows me well enough to suggest books – much less that they’ll actually have the book I want in stock – or that they can get it to me in two days …

    If these ‘Stacy Mitchell and Olivia LaVecchia’ think their local stores should ‘fight’ rather than adapt, then they be crazy.

    • They could, for example, put each incoming book into their web site, and set up a paypal account, and pay some local kid to have your selection in your hands within the hour. Amazon can get the same book to you… day after tomorrow. Maybe. For that matter, you could have your book dropped off at your afternoon’s chosen lunch location.

      But no, that’d be like work…

      • They’d have to first have on-hand or order a wide enough selection to have a chance of having what I’m interested in. And that local kid will cut into their already troubled profits. (And just like that local store, Amazon has some ‘local’ places with deliveries where you want in hours.)

        Then of course there’s the ‘download and read the ebook now’ option.

        • I LOVE this option.

          I just bought ten books last night. Two of them are print books (because the digital versions are WAY too expensive and I got a great deal on the used versions), 8 are ebooks.

          Can you say instant gratification?

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