A new survey by the Codex Group has confirmed the suspicions of many in the bookstore industry: nearly forty-percent of the people surveyed admitted that they use brick-and-mortar bookstores as a showroom to browse books before leaving the bookstore to make their purchase on Amazon.
Amazon has seized on this news and launched an openly aggressive campaign against brick-and-mortar independents. Worse yet: they want to make you and me complicit in their attack.
Amazon is offering people up to $5.00 off purchases at Amazon if they will walk into a store, scan an item's bar code with your smartphone, and then leave the store empty-handed and purchase the item on Amazon. The Wall Street Journal picked up the story in an article entitled “Amazon Will Pay Shoppers $5 to Walk Out of Stores Empty-Handed.”
How’s that for holiday cheer?
Amazon is essentially bribing customers in order to make them human data collection vehicles: All of the item scans submitted will enable Amazon to better undercut bookstores. Are you willing to work for Amazon this holiday season?
Writers, readers, publishers, and other booklovers would be derelict in our literary passion if we did not stop and consider how potentially damaging Amazon is for the health and longevity of the entire American book industry. If Amazon continues their predatory practices and fight against paying state taxes in the name of cheap, cheap, cheap, we all lose in the long run.
Do not let a dinky little Internet retailer that treats books like any old widget control something as vast and rich as the destiny of our country’s remarkable literary culture.