Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friendly Encouragement: Buy From a Local Bookseller Today!

In the past, we here at the FNC have provided for you a book-buying guide for your holiday shopping, in which we recommend some of our favorites in various categories. While we didn't publish one for you this year, we always encourage purchasing books for holiday gift giving. Books really are great gifts. This year, in addition, consider visiting a bookstore for those books rather than buying them online.

Why this out-of-the-blue public service announcement?

It's in direct response to a promotional that Amazon ran a few days ago. See the details of the promotional below, as they are paraphrased on The ShelfTalker blog:

The promotion: quite simply, to walk into any store, take a picture of the item with the price with your Amazon price checker app, and get $5 off on that item when you order it from Amazon. You’re allowed to do this three times on Saturday.

So, Jeff Bezos has decided or at least approved this scheme that all bricks and mortar stores should be visited, left empty-handed so folks can shop on Amazon while giving them price info from other stores. Wow. The thoughts I’m having about this promotion cannot be printed here. If I weren’t so riled up, I’d be despondent at such a horrible attack on stores. Perhaps folks will go to chain stores, and not arrive at small, independent stores, scan a QR code and leave.

A promotional like this one hurts our bookstores. Not only that, it takes advantage of them. Booksellers keep the shelves stocked with books ready to go home with us, but Amazon would have us go in, browse the shelves, use the booksellers' expertise, then walk out empty-handed.

Now, I am not opposed to shopping online. I do it, too. And I buy from Amazon. It's a good source for many things, especially for niche books and films. Believe me, as I plan the new course I am teaching this spring--Australia in Film and Fiction--I have turned to Amazon more than once to acquire hard-to-find resources.

But I shop at bookstores, especially local bookstores, as often as I can. I love bookstores. The colorful covers, the rooms full of words and ideas and stories, the helpful and friendly staff who also care about words and ideas and stories. These are just a few of the things that make bookstores so special. Bookstores also pay sales tax, employ community members, invite authors to visit, donate to schools, host story-hour, and generally keep reading alive in their communities.

So, I encourage you--buy from a local bookstore this season. Let's help keep our local booksellers around!

Happy Shopping and Happy Reading!

PS: Thanks to Grace Lin, whose recent blog post alerted me to this.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, we were all incensed at CCBMC! The nerve of Amazon! They wanted customers to go into a store, use it as a showroom, ask for expertise, and then leave empty-handed! Grrr...

    Think about this for a minute. If they do this more and more, and people take advantage of it, they won't be able to use the stores on Main Street as their personal showroom anymore. Because we'll all be out of business.

    Thanks for alerting others to this cheesy business practice, Janine!

    I thought it was bad when Amazon built that new warehouse in Allentown without air conditioning! Grrr...


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