The independent bookstores of Chicago and the Chicago area have issued a statement in response to last week's news that Amazon will open a brick-and-mortar bookstore on the north side of Chicago next year. The press release was posted by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and 16 area independent bookstores, all of which were named in the statement.
And yes, it is pompous. The press release includes statements from various booksellers and cites heavily from that questionable ABA report, but what really put the release over the top (other than the general tone) was this paragraph:
Whereas Amazon's initial choice to sell books was largely for the purpose of collecting customer data, independent bookstores pride themselves on serving customers who read voraciously and eclectically and on using books to create a conversation with customers and their communities. Booksellers get to know their customers so that they are able to make personal recommendations that enrich and sometimes change people's lives. In addition, independent bookstores collect—and have always collected—full sales taxes as required by law, thereby supporting schools, fire and police departments, and state and local governments generally. Amazon has also begun collecting and paying sales taxes, after being forced to by lawsuits and negative public opinion.
Does anyone know when all these upper east side literati decamped from Manhattan and moved to Chicago? Has any literature been written about that trek? (I'm out of sleeping pills, and am looking for alternatives.)
Remember Authors United?
AU was formed as a book publishing industry astroturfing group in 2014 during the Hachette-Amazon contract dispute. The last we heard from them was last August when they finally (after a nearly a year of blowing smoke) sent a letter to the DoJ, asking that Amazon be investigated for nonexistent antitrust violations.
Authors United has dropped off the radar after sending that letter, but now we have a new group which can pompously complain about Amazon.
Wait a second, what are the chances that we can get Authors United interested in protesting Amazon's bookstores? Isn't this right up there alley?
I think so, and I will do everything I can to get them involved.
P.S. It's a shame Barnes & Noble didn't sign off on this statement; that would have made it all the more ridiculous.
image by veritatem