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June 23, 2011



I love conspiracy theories, especially those centered around corporations. People keep thinking of corporations as just 'big businesses' they are not, a corporation is a machine designed to consume resources and excrete profits.

Amazon, or GM, or Walmart or any of the rest have no interest or desire to compete with anyone, they wish to divert the resources the competition is consuming to themselves. They do not wish to destroy the small booksellers, they simply wish to see more books than them at better profit margins. The fact that this will destroy the small booksellers is immaterial, it has no place in Amazons universe, no place in it's business model, it cannot.

The people at Amazon may like bookstores, they may go to them and buy books there, but the corporation does not see the value in them, it sees only the bottom-line, it can see nothing else. A corporation MUST operate in the interest of it's shareholders and no one else, if shareholder value is maximized by destroying all other booksellers than Amazon that is what it will do, what it must do BY LAW! The fact that this may have deleterious effects on some segments of society, or even society as a whole means nothing.

I understand the impulse to point at a particular facet of the problem, one example of the mindset, like Amazon or Walmart, but in truth it is the entire corporate system which is the problem. GM is no different, seeking profit by destroying the market is fast and easy and ultimately suicidal.

GM made huge profits by outsourcing jobs to cheaper labor markets. Now they are starting to reap the reward of helping to drive their consumers into poverty. After all, the new workers will rise in prosperity to become the new consumer market, right? Or will the market simply collapse before this can happen? Or will the constant need to reduce costs and increase profits cause the corporations to use governments to suppress wages and benefits until there are no markets to consume what is being created?

If people would open up their reality-tunnels a bit and see that it is the entire Government/Corporate system that is the problem and start to work against that instead of just the small part of the system they see threatening them we might have a chance. Amazon is just the fever, not the infection. If Amazon were destroyed tomorrow another would rise up in its place. It is not the books but the stock value that matters. The paper profits and not the human good that comes of the product.

Enron made its money by buying and selling energy. Until someone noticed that the real money was in buying and selling stock. Enron destroyed itself to sell more stock and increase the value thereof. People assumed it was a crime, when, in truth, it was simply the logical end of the system Enron was a part of. So long as the only goal is today's profit at any cost the entire system is doomed and it may drag us all down with it.


>>We do it because it is honorable, rewarding and we get a lot of free books.

Where do the free books come in? How do you get free books.


Here's the thing about small presses like Busted Flush and Poisoned Pen -- I can buy directly from them.

That's really the future of bookselling. Publishers are the only real competitors Amazon is going to have to face.

I live in a major metropolitan area and there isn't a single bookstore I can walk to (or ride public transportation to) and buy a book I'd like to read. Oh, sure, I can buy all kinds of LGBT-themed books, and uber-liberal political books, but a decent mystery? Nope.

So I have to either order a traditionally bound book or buy an ebook. My ONLY real choices include Amazon or the publisher.

Indies, in my experience, can be a real turn off to the average reader. They can be condescending and arrogant, they can be too narrow in their focus, they can be bad business managers.

If I buy directly from Amazon or a publisher's site, I don't have to put up with the eye-rolling and heavy sighing, the social and political diatribes, the judgemental looks, etc.

Steve Ellis

I buy mysteries from Seattle Mystery Book Shop exclusively despite the price differential (OK, sometimes I screw up, but not often). The reason is simple. The quality of knowledge possessed by J.B. and his staff is unequaled anywhere else for several reasons: (a) on line book sellers typically don't have any staff with whom to communicate about titles, (b) big book stores have staff, but all they do is sell a "thing" called a book and most of them can't distinguish a book from a coffee cup - much less its cover, (c)and even if they do have staff that actually read some of what they sell, none of them have anything like the depth of knowledge and interest that Seattle Mystery Book Shop has. Since I value this knowledge - and the service commitment that is inherent in keeping the store open - I would rather spend more for the book itself since I get far more value when considering all of the service I get. A short term focus on price differential will eventually lead to a long term loss of a valuable addition to the reading community. Quality independent booksellers like Seattle Mystery Bookshop are not a dying breed in my book.


To Cara's point: Amazon is not a bookseller. They are a global information services company well as an e-tailer. Please educated yourself about what they actually do and are doing. Try looking up Amazon Web Services and Amazon EC2.

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