It's been awhile since we said anything about Ama - - er, um - SPECTRE. We had come to feel that we'd said what needed to be said and to no good. After a while, you have to stop screaming at the TV. We went silent, watching SPECTRE do its thing.
Its thing included opening stores (the antithesis of it's original business plan), fiddle with plans to launch its own air force for deliveries, vastly increase its advertising budget to where you can't turn around without seeing their logo (really, is it supposed to be a smile, a mushroom, a swoosh of speed, or something sexual? We know, A-Z, but really!).
We've read about them releasing new gizmos, new programs, new revolutionary ways to work their way into the lives of their data producers, making it more difficult to find some books, even ceasing to post original prices vs. discounted prices. All the while, more and more independent bookshops have closed.
Now we read that, in their physical stores, they've instituted different prices to buyers depending on whether they've ponied up to subscribe to the tribe that gets the best deals. Yes, you have to pay extra to save more.
We've been writing about, and warning about, SPECTRE for years. Our first post was back in June of 2011. It is with no satisfaction that we now take you back to a post from March 2, 2012 in which we wrote:
"There is one issue that no one seems to be addressing.
Amazon proponents say that Amazon is bringing the world a river (yes, that's why it is named Amazon) of affordable material and that has to be good for everyone. Well, yes, they do make things affordable. Now. But, after they've run other publishers and other booksellers out of business and have a virtual - if not actual - monopoly on publishing and bookselling, do you really expect them to continue to discount so deeply? If there is no competition, do you really believe that they won't raise the prices on everything, eliminating discounts, slashing the percentages given to authors? If they're the only game in town, what is to stop them? At some point, if Wall Street is to continue supporting them, they'll have to start showing profits to shareholders. To do that, they'll have to take it out of the hide of those who buy from them and sell to them.
That's when you will find yourself living in the company's town, having nowhere to shop but at the company store, playing and paying by the company's rules."
We don't really want to be the ones to say, "Told Ya" but there you go. It seemed inevitable, didn't it?
However, there is some good news on the horizon as well, and we do take deep comfort in this:
Saturday, November 26 is Small Business Saturday. It's traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Small Business Saturday is a program begun in 2010 to encourage folks to support their local, small businesses, the ones who employ their friends and neighbors. Support has grown over the years, coming from elected officials from local offices all the way to DC (glad they can unite behind something once in a while...). By 2014, $14.3 billion was spent at small independent outfits. By 2015, 95 million showed their support on that day.
Monday, November 28 is Cyber Monday. If you can't make it to an independent to shop on Saturday the 26th - isn't it sad how many people no longer have small businesses nearby? - you can order from one of us by phone or on-line.
Casting a ballot is critical. But you you also vote with your money as well, and where you spend it is just as important as casing ballot.
Vote for Small Business!