The Backlash against Online Booksellers

Amazon can be Amazon. This is about a quality of life that can’t be ordered online. We are trusting in the intangibles of the soul. People care about books.  Here are just a few examples. Send me yours!

  • Esquire recently published this piece about bookstores over Amazon and tips on the (nearly) lost art of shopping in a bookstore. In every bookstore, there is a book that is perfect for you, right now, at this exact moment of your life. That book will change you. Your job is to find it…
  • From her essay “The Bookstore Strikes Back,” remarkable author Ann Patchett provides this tale of authors and bookstores and coming home. “…The bookstore that did in fact open in Nashville is so beautiful, I can’t even make sense of it. People still want books; I’ve got the numbers to prove it. I imagine they remember the bookstores of their youth as tenderly as I remember mine. They are lined up outside most mornings when we open our doors…”
  • In the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Poets & Writers, literary agent David Gernert had this to say about books and bookstores. “Bookstores are incredibly important—not just as retail outlets, but as places where people go and commune with other like-minded individuals, many of them strangers, and talk about big ideas and compare notes on what they’ve been reading and what’s going on in the world. That is a tremendously important and valuable part of our culture. It’s much bigger than just selling books.” Read more.
  • Membership in the indie bookstore champion the American Booksellers Association is in the midst of a steady five-year climb says this September 2013 entry from Smart Planet blog. The article also notes that the personal touch of author events, staff picks, and even that cuppa joe, bring people something Amazon could never provide.
  • Kickstarter. Indigogo. What do these crowdfunding sites have to do with your neighborhood bookstore? They could very well help keep them going while also showing us more evidence that people care about local flavor. The underdog status of local independent booksellers could very well be working in their favor as people begin to take them under their charitable wings.  Read here about a NYC bookstore who raised $50,000 on Indigogo from customers and an interested and motivated public.
  • President Barack Obama caused an outcry among independent booksellers and fans of same when his Summer 2013 “A Better Bargain for the Middle Class” Tour made a stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee at Jeff Bezos’ Amazon warehouse rather than an example of an indie bookstore. LINK
  • December of 2011 saw the promotion of Amazon’s price check app for smartphones through a one-day bonus sale where customers who scanned items (other than books) in bookstores using the app would receive up to $15 off. The app prompted American Booksellers’ Association (ABA) CEO Oren Teicher to write this open letter to Bezos in which he fiercely and concisely lays on the line what’s at stake. “We could call your $5 bounty to app-users a cheesy marketing move and leave it at that,” writes Teicher. “In fact, it is the latest in a series of steps to expand your market at the expense of cities and towns nationwide, stripping them of their unique character and the financial wherewithal to pay for essential needs like schools, fire and police departments, and libraries.

And, yes, here we still are living in the digitial age. So what about it? Well, here is a partial list of smaller social networking sites that are specific to booklovers.