Ads for Amazon

Cleverly disguised as an ad for a fantastic book by an amazingly talented artist and writer, Chris Monroe.  I work hard to promote the many excellent books I come across – a great number of them from within this region:  blogging (at least semi-regularly), writing a weekly newsletter and talking to people through facebook and twitter and, most rewardingly, at the store – talking about books and authors that I love and that people have shared with me.  It’s hard to then see a book that I’ve worked to introduce people to being used as a way to drive money to amazon.

I’m not saying you need to buy it at the store where I work.  Or buy it at Fitgers.  Or buy it up at the Mall.  Or even that it’s the end of the world to buy it from amazon.  But I do want to confront this notion that amazon is either neutral or the only game in town (which it most decidedly is not since it has nothing to do with our town whatsoever) when it comes to links about media, especially books. IndieBound lets you search all books in print and then, after you’ve learned a bit more about them, lets you find a locally owned, independent store of your choice.  You can search for varieties of local businesses across the US. You can add you favorite local businesses.  Authors can affiliate themselves with IndieBound and receive a portion of the sale (not being an author, I have to rely on rumor that the terms are more generous than amazon).

I’m not advocating amazon abstinence, but really try to measure your options more carefully. Get excited about local businesses. Get excited for local events. Celebrate our musicians, writers, actors, publishers, artists, etc. who really make this area so wonderful.

9 Comments

Starfire

about 11 years ago

It is my fault. Funny because I just woke up thinking why did I link Monroe's new book to Amazon and not a local bookseller. I guess all the advertising Amazon does worked on me.  

Of course I would prefer that everyone buys books locally especially from the author herself today from 1-3pm at the Fitgers Bookstore. I will also speak with Chris and see what her preferred online outlet is.

Calk

about 11 years ago

I'm with John, I think a local msg board that promotes local artists and the Duluth "scene" should refrain from posting an ad that directs people to a corporate behemoth Amazon, that's become like Walmart, as it cuts a swathe through our national bookstore scene, resulting in indie store closings right and left. I'd rather Duluthians be encouraged to buy Chris's book locally, because we have plenty of great bookstores right here. And I know people down in the Cities also read PDD and are fans of Chris's, so a link to IndieBound would be good, so that people in the Cities would be informed that they can buy Chris's book at Red Balloon or Wild Rumpus, or even, I hope Micawbers or one of the other great bookstores all over the Twin Cities area. Buy from Amazon as a last resort. Every dollar that goes into its owner, Jeff Bezos's pocket, is a dollar that's taken away from a "real" "bricks-and-mortar" bookstore somewhere.

hbh1

about 11 years ago

yes, it should be linked locally. however, to call "Amazon" a corporate behemoth doesn't necessarily apply all the time. used bookstores around the country are staying alive via Amazon's used section. for those of us who cannot afford to buy new books, it's our ticket to owning books we care about.  

i should add: the only books i buy new are by local authors.

Calk

about 11 years ago

Good point, hbh, forgot about that, Amazon is great for used books, I've used them to buy used books too.

jmcc

about 11 years ago

that's still undermining used bookstores.  Sure, used-bookstores are staying alive, but their physical presence is hurt.  Many are closing their actual stores and switching to an all online presence because of the underselling model Amazon promotes.  Sure, you can find a book for a dollar, then pay $3-5 shipping, ignore the carbon costs and shady areas of tax fairness, and everyone involved would have been better off with a face to face transaction of $4-5.

I know that used bookstores are not thriving around here and it is often difficult to impossible to find what you're looking for locally.  All I'm asking is that you do look locally first, because Amazon has disabled many of those used-bookstores it now keeps on lifesupport.  
Also, bookfinder.com and abebooks are other sites (among many others I am am not aware of) that help connect you to used books. 

As much as Amazon would like to be the one and only, they are not.  Yet.

Starfire

about 11 years ago

JMCC, can people order from any local stores online?

jmcc

about 11 years ago

IndieBound will direct people to purchase from American Bookseller Association affiliated stores (for books) and while searching for any local store, they make an effort to include that store's website so you could order from them online if they have a commerce component to their website.  Fitgers may not be ABA associated, but they are able to be added (if they're not already) to the local business section.  IndieBound is available for any independent  business, but since it's an ABA initiative, they do streamline it for those who are members.
As it is, more and more local businesses are recognizing the need for an online presence as they loose more business to amazon, but there's no way to "out amazon amazon."  So, Indiebound is a user-created hub to connect the independents out there in a way that recognizes their independence and recognizes the consumers' interest in one-stop shopping.  (I feel as though I'm rambling... exploring IndieBound might be a quicker solution to finding answers)

So, it's not perfect.  It's not a prompt response to the rise of Amazon.  But it is a building initiative and a significant step forward.

And Starfire - thanks for your quick response to this concern!

Calk

about 11 years ago

Hurrah for Chris Monroe, hurrah for Starfire, hurrah for JMCC, and hurrah for IndieBound! The link has been changed. Hey, JMCC, were you at BEA in LA when they officially launched IndieBound? I felt like I'd accidentally ingested some pot or something, it was a trip down memory lane of what the '60s must have been like for booksellers.

jmcc

about 11 years ago

I've not made a BEA - hope to some year.  I can imagine how exciting it must have been though - there's so much energy at those meetings and it's an ambitious and exciting endeavor!  The changes over the past month have been really great and give me a lot of hope that it will continue to grow and become even more relevant and accessible.

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