13 December 2011

#OccupyAmazon by occupying real bookstores

Uncle Hugo's, where it is entirely possible to trip over a stack of Asimov novels and break a model of the ship from Lost in Space if you're not careful. Photo by Olivander.
You may have heard that Amazon.com took its competition with brick-and-mortar booksellers to a new level this holiday season, offering a discount to people who go into a store and scan a product with Amazon's smartphone app to find out what price Amazon was offering for the same wares (presumably cheaper, and free of local sales tax). If you're not sure why this is an asshole move on the part of the gargantuan online retailer, you've got a good one in this op-ed by Richard Russo, who talks to a number of other authors, all of whom have done pretty well thanks to sales via Amazon, about the whole business. Money quote from Ann Patchett:

"... If you like seeing the people in your community employed, if you think your city needs a tax base, if you want to buy books from a person who reads, don’t use Amazon.”

I bought a lot of books as gifts this holiday season, and I'm glad to say I bought none of them from Amazon. Instead, I went to the collegiate used bookstore the Book House, the "indie behemoth" Magers & Quinn, and the astounding nerdcave that is Uncle Hugo's. I probably paid a bit more, and I'll have to figure out how to fit all the books in my carry-on instead of shipping them ahead of me, but I had a lot more fun doing the shopping, too. ◼

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