How many of us buy books on Amazon regularly, because they are cheaper than the local bookstore, chain or not?
Better yet, how many of us either own a Kindle or use the Kindle app on a regular basis? (NetGalley users, you better be raising your hands! Amazon is still getting something out of you for using that app, even if you aren’t paying for the book.)
Now, when was the last time you stopped to consider how Amazon might be INFLUENCING what you or other people buy?
You might be wondering what I’m getting at here. Thing is, Amazon is using its influence on us to better pad its pockets.
Don’t get me wrong, I shop on Amazon occasionally. But I try to use it for things I can’t find/buy locally. And I’ve really tried to stop using it to buy books, particularly after hearing what Amazon does to publishers.
If you haven’t heard about what’s going on, check out this article from the New York Times. The basic gist is that Hachette Book Group’s contract with Amazon is up, and Amazon is now making consumers wait 2-3 weeks (sometimes more!) after publication date before it will allow you to buy any Hachette books from its site. Some books also cost more as well, particularly ebooks. Well-known authors from this publisher include James Patterson, Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen Colbert.
Think about it. The first 2-3 books are often the most crucial weeks. Not only is Amazon hurting Hachette, it’s hurting the authors who worked hard on those books, and the consumers who want to buy those books. And, if you read the article, this is not the first time Amazon has thrown its weight around with a publishing house.
There is also this article from Forbes, that goes further into detail about the Amazon/Hachette situation. It points out that Amazon is not the only one to blame, Barnes & Noble has also used similar tactics. I’m sure there are other instances too.
Guys, we can’t let big brands get away with this! We need to get back to our roots and start buying books the same way we’ve slowly started buying our food again… LOCALLY. The next time you want a book, check out your local library/book sale/used or new bookstore. Not only will you find great people in your own community gracious for your business (and often willing to order a book for you if they don’t carry it themselves), you never know what else you might get from that trip. Maybe you bump into someone as you’re studying a shelf of books, only to end up discussing the favorite genre you have in common for the next hour. Or maybe you find out that they host book clubs regularly, covering books you really enjoy. No matter what it is, I almost guarantee you will experience so much more of the bookish world that way than you ever possibly can sitting in front of the computer as you are now. AND you’ll be supporting your community instead of the super-giant that is Amazon.
(Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Amazon has many other companies/websites under its umbrella, including the infamous Book Depository. Just go to their homepage and scroll all the way down. You’ll be amazed.)