A decision to save $6.00 on Amazon, multiplied by thousands of customers every day, means that your local bookstore, the place where you hang out, meet friends, met your partner, or found the book that changed your life, may not be there next year…
But for now, many of us brick and mortar booksellers are still here, committed to what I believe is a noble pursuit: putting the right book in the right person’s hands.
“We look forward to putting more than 1,000 Texans to work at our new fulfillment centers in Schertz, Coppell and Haslet,” Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North American fulfillment, said in a news release. “We appreciate the state and local elected officials who have helped us make this exciting investment in the state of Texas.” Jobs that will pay low wages until the workers are replaced by robots.
“It’s much easier to sell goods at cost the way Amazon does than sell goods at a 40 percent margin like Apple,” said Colin Gillis of BGC Partners. “Once you’ve trained your customers to buy at cost, it’s difficult to train them away from it.”
Still, Mr. Gillis said: “Who’s going to undercut Amazon? They’re only making half a cent on every dollar. Who can run a business at less profit?”
“‘M-Edge developed a very successful product line: personal electronic device jackets with multiple features for the Kindle and other e-readers. Amazon thereafter repeatedly sought to hijack the product through threats, deceit, interference with M-Edge’s customer relationships, and patent infringement.’
The 15-page filing documents Amazon’s deteriorating relationship with M-Edge. The sales relationship … garnered Amazon an 8 percent commission on M-Edge’s products… [M]onths later, Amazon issued the first reassessment of its contract with M-Edge … requiring the company to pay an additional 7 percent in fees to Amazon. Over the next few years, Amazon continued to revise M-Edge’s contract and increase its fees on the company’s sales, totaling 32 percent in commissions and fees by a contract signed July 2010 … [A]fter refusing to accept new terms and conditions proposed by Amazon, the company claims Amazon began manufacturing its own lighted e-reader jacket, which was a direct knock-off from the company’s patented design, and went as far as “de-listing” M-Edge, making the company’s product less visible on the site and tampering with M-Edge’s relationships with other retailers.”
“Independent Publishers Group has found itself in a struggle with the world’s largest online retailer over terms of its contract. Failing to reach an agreement, Amazon on Monday pulled the plug on 5,000 of the company’s titles, removing those offerings from its Kindle e-bookstore, according to President Mark Suchomel.
‘Our electronic book agreement recently came up for renewal, and Amazon took the opportunity to propose new terms for electronic and print purchases that would have substantially changed (book publishers) revenue from the sale of both. It’s obvious that publishers can’t continue to agree to terms that increasingly reduce already narrow margins,’ he wrote.
“As far as local retailers are concerned, Web retailing behemoth Amazon.com and its other out-of-state online-only competitors should begin charging their New Jersey customers sales tax now. Right now.The local shop owner has to tack 7 percent tax on top of every sale. So does any Internet retailer that has an office, be it a warehouse or a store, in the Garden State, such as Barnes & Noble…
‘What this legislation does is create that moment of time immediately and puts a pin in the calendar for ending this charade where Internet merchants get an unfair competitive advantage over the local retailer,’ said state Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, D-Camden, one of the bill’s sponsors.”
“Music label Occupation Records has announced that it will not work with Amazon or Apple on the count of their “labour and human rights violations.”
This is a bold statement as both Amazon’s marketplace and Apple’s iTunes make up over 80 per cent of the online download market, meaning there’s likely to be a big impact on record sales by not working with these firms. Despite that, Occupation Records is still not going to use their services… .
Occupation said that [Amazon.com] punishes employees for taking sick days and hasn’t improved working conditions for over a decade. Citing a particular day, the record label said that 15 employees collapsed at an Amazon warehouse due to extreme temperatures of 43 degrees celsius, maintained over an 11 hour shift. The only breaks they had during this time was one unpaid hour for lunch and two short 15 minute sessions.”
“The State of Arizona is alleging that we should have collected a transaction tax that is similar to a sales tax on applicable transactions during those years,” Amazon said in its annual 10-K regulatory filing. “We believe that the assessment is without merit and intend to vigorously defend ourselves in this matter.”
The period for which Arizona is seeking unpaid taxes, plus interest, is March 2006 through December 2010. Amazon has four distribution centers in Arizona, putting its total footprint in the state at more than 4 million square feet.
“Virginia’s bricks-and-mortar retailers are looking toward the Lone Star State as one model in their push to make Amazon.com Inc. charge sales taxes once the online retail giant opens two huge distribution centers in the state.
By not collecting the sales taxes from Virginia residents, the state is missing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue, the retailers claim… .
Researchers at the University of Tennessee projected in 2009 that state and local governments nationwide would lose about $11.4 billion in revenue from uncollected taxes from online sales by 2012.”
“Shopping online, reading ebooks, driving SUVs, eating fast food, listening to music through earbuds, watching movies on phones, using a GPS to find a pizzeria — what arsehole believes that these lazy activities somehow signal the Good Life? Or that they even constitute progress? Making water safe to drink was progress. Enshrining basic rights in a constitution was progress. Pulling ourselves up out of the cesspit of superstition into the relative light of the scientific revolution was big progress. But these addictive idiocies — things like internet gambling, one-click shopping, and carrying around hundreds of ebooks on a Kindle — are the mere by-products of progress, like ash left after a fire.”
“[I]n order to survive, bookstores must stop trying to compete with Amazon.
So if Amazon offers books for less to the consumer, and the publisher turns a higher profit for each book sold, why even have bookstores at all? Because in the 21st century, the service a bookstore provides isn’t just book-selling; it’s being the cultural center that book lovers need in their communities.”
“I suspect I’m not the only person starting 2012 with a resolution to buy fewer books from Amazon… . [I]f you’re one of the millions of Americans who owns an iPad or its Android equivalent, there’s no need to wait. You can make the switch from Amazon to indie e-books right now, and do your part in the coming year to keep your town or city a more bookish place.”
“Amazon asked consumers to go into stores, with no intention of actually buying anything, and scan bar codes into their cellphones. It’s not exactly the ol’ five-finger discount, but then all you have to sneak out of the store is information. Then you simply fence it to Amazon.” This article is possibly more valuable for coining the phrase “Info-Age Shoplifting” than for anything else.
“Amazon asked consumers to go into stores, with no intention of actually buying anything, and scan bar codes into their cellphones. It’s not exactly the ol’ five-finger discount, but then all you have to sneak out of the store is information. Then you simply fence it to Amazon.”
This article is possibly more valuable for coining the phrase “Info-Age Shoplifting” than for anything else.
“Managerial types in Manhattan may be looking at the margins on ebook sales, and the efficiency, and start thinking they’re gonna make it to the land of milk and money. They’re nuts… . Higher margins on declining revenue ain’t a great prescription for worldly success, poot.
The MBAs don’t care. They’re not in the business of selling books… . They love digital the way Dr. Frankenstein loved his monster — madly, blindly, self-destructively. The way teen-age boys love their cocks.”