Self-Centered Bookseller Demands Amazon Subsidize Indie Bookstores

An entitled book buyer at Vroman's Bookstore has responded to Jeff Bezos' asking for philanthropy ideas with a greedily outstretched hand.

Self-Centered Bookseller Demands Amazon Subsidize Indie Bookstores Amazon DeBunking

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

About Nate Hoffelder (10891 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

4 Comments on Self-Centered Bookseller Demands Amazon Subsidize Indie Bookstores

  1. “Independent bookstores across the country were forced to close their doors.” When B&N came to town. And other chain-bookstores before that.

    I’m afraid I missed him whining when that happened.

    It has always been adapt or die, this is just the latest bit. Can’t/won’t adapt? Then die, preferably without making whiny noises about how your failure to keep going has got to be somebody else’s fault.

  2. Dude’s begging for scraps at the wrong doorstep in the wrong city.
    He needs to take his cheesy whine to Manhattan, where the decision was made to force small booksellers to go through a distributor (who makes a profit, too) instead of direct from the publisher the way it used to be before the Euros took over four of the five biggest publishing houses.
    If his costs are higher than Amazon retail it is because of volume based discounts at the publisher not because Amazon loses money. Amazon makes tons of money for themselves and the publishers.
    Speaking of that:
    Can Vroman’s or whatever hole say the same?
    They compare themselves to Amazon but:
    Are they willing to give up returns and buy outright the books they stock, the way comics shops and Amazon do?
    Are they willing to pick up their books at the printing facility and pay for shipping themselves, like Amazon does?
    Are they willing to stop taking bribes for favored placement?
    What corporate publishers give one way, they take back with interest another.
    Amazon isn’t their problem.
    The way they run their business is.

    • “He needs to take his cheesy whine to Manhattan, where the decision was made to force small booksellers to go through a distributor (who makes a profit, too) instead of direct from the publisher the way it used to be before the Euros took over four of the five biggest publishing houses.”

      This is more true than some might think. In other industries it is standard practice that retailers can buy from at least some of the major manufacturers. Even though the order size may be small, the retailer can still deal direct.

  3. Do you suppose that buggy whip sellers demanded compensation from Henry Ford?

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