I read a post this morning called “Occupy Amazon” the bibliopirate Blog. This has become a huge issue in the book industry. Amazon vs. world. Really? If you’ve read any of my posts you know I’m an Amazon.com advocate. Before you go getting your knickers all twisted up at me, save your rotten fruit, I’m not going to change my mind. At least not until they screw me. Why do I like Amazon so much you might ask?
1. I sell books there–and lots of them. Literally 10 to 1 compared to brick and mortar stores. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to sell books in bookstores, but stores simply don’t want to sell our books. There are many reasons they offer, but bottom line is bookstores aren’t willing to take the risk on a small business, even though many of the stores are small businesses themselves.
2. Convenience. I’m not a fan of traffic, actually I’m a bit of a road rage driver, anyone who’s been in a car with me can attest to that. Stupid drivers just piss me off. So, it’s easier if I just shop from my computer. No one gets hurt, and my blood pressure stays within a manageable range.
3. Selection. I can find 100 times more stuff to buy from Amazon than I can from any bookstore. My experience with bookstores is that they favor the big publishers and best sellers. That’s great, if that’s what keeps them in business then that’s what they should sell. But it doesn’t work for me. I prefer new authors, lots of series, and have a fondness for indie publishers. I find very few of those in bookstores.
I read post after post and hear comment after comment about how Amazon is killing the brick and mortar stores. I simply don’t believe this. I think the stores could actually compete more effectively if they gave more consideration to what their customers want and less to what they think will sell. Customer service is the key element to any successful business. No one is willing to pay higher prices and be treated badly. I know I’m not.
I’ll pay a higher price if the store clerks actually acknowledged me, offered me any assistance, and knew what they hell they were doing. This has not been the case in the last ten stores (of any kind) I have been in. Especially bookstores.
I just don’t see Amazon as the villain everyone makes them out to be. They are a business, like any other, and they are in the business to make money. That is why we all go into business, right? I posted a comment somewhere about this and I clearly stated that consumers have a choice. No one is forcing anyone to go to Amazon.
As for bibiopirate’s situation. It’s sad when people go into stores, especially bookstores, and forget about common courtesy. Looking for a book? If you can shop on Amazon then you should be smart enough to know how to look up the info you seek on the web. Don’t be an asshat and go to a local store, make them do all the legwork (that makes you lazy), and then deprive them of the sale. That is just pissy and there is a special place in hell for people like you.
Show some decency. If you have the time and the inclination to actually go into a store, then give them your business. They have earned it, simply by being there for you.
bibliopirate doesn’t really call for a boycott of Amazon, though others have. That’s not the answer. Amazon has as much right to fight for the consumer ‘s business than any store or whatever. What happens in the retail world is 100% dependant on the consumer. It is YOU who makes the choice where you spend your money. If Amazon is the king of retailers it’s because consumers have made it so. You want your local stores to thrive, then get off your duff, get out of your house, and go spend your money there.
But for cripes sake, remember, your local store is not an information booth on your way to online shopping. It’s a place where people just like you go to earn a living and support their families. Show some respect!
You can also do your favorite stores a favor by promoting them. In fact, why don’t you post your favorite local store in the comment section of this post. No big box stores, just hometown businesses that deserve some exposure and some business.
Tell us about your…
Favorite local business:
Why you like them:
Great Indie bookstores:
113 East Beaver St.
Corydon, IN 47112
Right here in my home town. They know me and know what I like. They know EVERYBODY! They’re active in the community and support local writers.
604 East Spring Street
New Albany, IN 47150
A little farther away. Again, very active in the community and supportive of local writers. Established longer than Arlston’s, Destinations brings in some major names for readings/signings as well as offering space to local not-yet-knowns.
That Book Place
337 Clifty Dr.
Madison, IN 47250
WILDLY supportive of any writer at all! That Book Place carries used as well as new books, and celebrates readers and writers with great zest. I must disclose here that I write a monthly interview column for them. 🙂
I love Powell’s. The biggest book store in the word, right in my back yard. And, no, they haven’t carried any of my books yet.
Hi! My favorite local bookstore is Arelene’s Book House & Paper Back Exchange at 124 Oak St. in Sweetwater, Texas.
She doesn’t have a website, per se, but a page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Arlenes-Book-House-Paper-Back-Exchange/116527571705693.
This store is in a historical building and you can buy antiques and clothing as well. It’s a hodge-podge of items, sometimes you can barely scoot between rows of books. Arlene and her shop have a lot of character, mixing it up with ghosts, noisy caged birds and the smell of aged paper. Definitely an entertaining experience.
Great case you make! (Not that I needed convincing.) I feel the same way for all the same reasons, and like you, my sales on Amazon (both Kindle and print books) has far exceeded anything elsewhere.
Excellent comments. And I love the new picture. Congrats!
I love my local Barnes and Noble located on Creekside in Valencia, CA (corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Blvd.) http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2642
Why? Because they know books. They read them, and they recognize authors and titles. They are happy to help me, and they even walk my butt to the obvious spot even though I’ve already looked there without success. And they don’t even roll their eyes at me.