It seems like a lot of people who shop at Amazon believe that the site sells books more cheaply than your neighborhood bookstore out of the goodness of their hearts. Do these people get that Amazon loses money on their book sales? That the site hopes that when you go online to buy the new David Foster Wallace novel, you’ll also buy a tennis racket and barbecue? That’s where Amazon makes their money. And do they get that Amazon doesn’t charge sales tax, and is trying to get out of ever charging it? Are they at all suspect of Amazon’s intense secretiveness regarding sales and profits? Are they at all nervous by the idea of a book monopoly, about a lack of diversity in the book-selling world?
I know affordability is an issue. But sometimes I think we’re so obsessed with getting stuff cheaply that we forget what we’re losing in the long run.
I can understand people buying from a number of different stores and sites. But if you’re going to shop at Amazon and Amazon alone, then get the fuck out of bookstores. Don’t use the bathroom, don’t browse the shelves, and don’t say something rude to the bookseller about how expensive the books are.
(And, on the flip side, a bookstore isn’t a charity case. You go there not to be a good, angelic person, but because you enjoy the experience, the ambiance, the staff recommendations, the hot customers, the way the front table is curated, and the events. There’s value in a bookstore that Amazon can’t offer.)