An entitled book buyer at Vroman’s Bookstore has responded to Jeff Bezos’ asking for philanthropy ideas with a greedily outstretched hand.
From the LATimes:
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s richest people with a net worth north of $90 billion, recently asked his Twitter followers for suggestions regarding philanthropic giving. He wanted their ideas on how to help the world become a better place. “I’m thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.”
As a bookseller, I’d like to offer a suggestion: Stop hawking books on Amazon at such drastically slashed prices.
Mr. Bezos, your strategy was brilliant. You offered up books at unbeatable prices and threw in free shipping as well. The public was hooked. You broadened your inventory and offered other items. With the convenience of shopping 24/7 from one’s own computer, you transformed retail. And it brought you immense wealth.
Years later, you continue to sell books at a heavy discount, often at half the list price. For us brick-and-mortar booksellers, this master business plan you devised has been devastating. Independent bookstores across the country were forced to close their doors. Where once neighborhood bookstores abounded there are now many communities that have none.
You don’t have to work through the intermediary of a charity. You can simply raise the price of the books you offer for sale on your site to fair market value.
The problem with this demand isn’t just that the writer is saying “gimmee” but also who would end up paying out the funds.
Bezos asked for suggestions on how he could give away his own personal wealth, while the Vroman’s Bookstore employee wants Amazon to raise its prices and more or less force consumers to subsidize bookstores involuntarily.
The writer wants to take my money and prop up a business I don’t want to do business with?
Where do they think they are, the EU?
(thanks, Dave, for the tip!)
image by HowardLake