A week ago I swore off ordering books from Amazon
Amazon.com? Talk to a book store owner
The other night while watching this week’s Bill Maher show I found out about this book by Thomas Frank. I enjoy this author, I have What’s The Matter With Kansas.
Oh great I thought, here’s my first chance to get off Amazon’s nipple.
So I go to my local bookstore’s website, check for the book. They have it. Great! I check the price – $28 bucks plus 8% tax, plus $6.95 shipping. It’s been so long that I bought a book at a bookstore, I guess that’s just what books cost now I say to myself. I can pick up the book for free, but then I have to drive 15 miles to get there.
I check Amazon’s price — because they have me by the balls – $18.64, shipped to my door on Tuesday. Fuck me! And, when I order on Amazon the book is in my kindle – no extra charge.
I ordered the book on Amazon.
So here’s my imaginary letter to my local bookstore.
Dear Book Store,
I really want to order from you. I get it, I feel it, I blog about it. Technology might get me too and I’m in the tech business. Amazon had the book for almost half the price you did. I’ll order from you but you gotta meet me half way.
Like so many others, my family is struggling to stay afloat – every penny counts. I can live without the book being in my kindle. But would it be possible for you to lower your price and include free shipping? If so I promise, the next book I order I’ll order from you.
James Blackwell says
I know you’re finally making your way through “The Wire” and I had to poke you with a stick on this one. 1:25 seconds in, right here: http://youtu.be/QqNNpGlUKHw
So many great lines in that clip; season 3, episode 7-“Back Burners.” The relationship between Omar and Bunk has always been a favorite metaphor in that series. One of my favorite lessons from you, about “free” ( particularly want to comes to software) has always been: you pay for it one way or another. With free software it’s usually our privacy and personal information.
In this case? Supporting your local bookstore often means paying the tax for everyone. We can’t do it every time… I try to at least buy things there which provide high ROI/margin for them-like coffee, eating in the café, etc.
I had an unfortunate exchange of emails with the local bookstore owner. She missed that I’m trying to help her. I’ve sent her an email asking for the opportunity to reboot. Hopefully she gives me a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.
One realization I’ve had. I think back to Bezos being interviewed on 60 Minutes. Charlie Rose was asking Bezos about the bookstores and retail Amazon was killing. Bezos had a harsh, but great reply. He said, “Complaining is not a strategy”.
Yes, it sucks that tech is killing more jobs than it’s creating. But we have two choices:
1. stand in front of the train and get run over
2. get on the train
I’m going to get on the train.
Every business needs to ask themselves this:
how will tech kill me?
They need to look way ahead. No one will care if my business is gone. People will bemoan the local bookstore or record store closing — but only for a day. Then they’ll get on with their lives.
I go back and forth. But there’s no doubt, that Amazon has been a disruptive force. In doing so, consumers have gained.
Like I say, their customer service is outstanding. And, Amazon has changed the rules of business. There’s a lot of positives there.
Yes, a lot of negatives too. Bezos has never said his model works for everyone. He’s only said, it works for them. Fair enough.
The link in my last comment and here, points out a lot that Amazon can take credit for:
One more time. It’s easy to complain. But that’s not a strategy.
My blog points out the oncoming train. It’s one of the reasons why I do it. But I totally get that my tone can be hard to decipher or for matter even a deterrent to reading on.
I don’t make a dime doing this. I never will. It’s therapy, it’s service to others.