Welcome to the first week of Weekly Tea Discussion!
In honor of Independent Bookstore Day this Saturday, I thought we talk about Amazon and independent bookstores.
When the whole Amazon and Hachette dispute over e-book pricing that occurred last year, I watched everyone, from writers and readers alike, attacking Amazon, especially criticizing their actions for withholding Hachette print books from their website.
Now, I don’t agree with what Amazon does sometimes, especially in this case. What I don’t agree with is everyone making Amazon public enemy number #1. Mishka Shubaly, the author of Sympathy for the Devil: In Defense of Amazon, I feel said it perfectly:
Jeff Bezos didn’t build Amazon: We did. Amazon didn’t buy out and board up independent bookstores. We abandoned them. We chose convenience over community, commerce over art. The Big Five sell glossy-covered, sensational page-turners and celebrity tell-alls and escapist vampire soft-porn because this is what we’ve told them we want to read. The solution isn’t to order the latest Hachette bestseller online from Wal-Mart.”
Instead of putting all the blame on Amazon, and the big publishers would love that, and take at our own book buying habits. I am not a hypocrite. I sometimes do shop for books on Amazon. But, most of the time, I will go to my independent bookstore and shop there. Not only to support them but nothing compares physically browsing through a bookstore. Here, I am choosing community over convenience.
But a lot of consumers choose not to go that route. Honestly, I can’t blame them. Books are cheaper on Amazon. So, writers and fellow readers who are ready to sharpen their pitchforks against Amazon, ask yourself this: is it really necessary for a book to cost $35.00? Can you really blame consumers for choosing Amazon over bookstores? Maybe this so-called battle between Amazon and indie bookstores is a front to stop us from seeing the real problem: the publishers. Maybe if publishers didn’t set their books at high prices and thought more about lining their own pockets, more people would be open to shopping at indie bookstores.
I would like to hear your opinions. So you guys can pingback, add your link to your post, or post comment below.
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