Search This Blog

Loading...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why Should I Be Surprised?



I’d say it’s the last straw, but I’m sure it isn’t. It never is. There’s always another outrage coming. What is it this morning?

My stepdaughter posted on Facebook a link to the latest murderous move by the online behemoth bookseller whose name I do not include here because they already get enough free publicity day and night from news media, and this is my blog, thank you very much, so please respect me and don't put their name in any comments, either!  What’s their deal now? This is it: You, the buyer of books, can go to your local bookstore, scan an item, walk out without making a purchase, order the item from Behemoth, and they will pay you five dollars! I’m sure Behemoth will have takers on this one, but this is not my world, and it’s not a world I want any part of creating. We are involved, you know, in co-creating the world, by every choice we make, every action we take. Five dollars. Are you for sale that cheap?

In my world, Leelanau County, bookselling has always been a collegial affair. From Glen Arbor to Northport, those of us in little bookshops see and treat one another as colleagues. We send each other customers. We believe every town deserves a bookstore, and we want all county bookstores to succeed.

Obviously, we are living in La-La Land, wouldn't you say? The new bookselling model is not cooperation but warfare. Exterminate the “enemy” in every city and small town across America! Again, not a world I want any part in creating.

Have you noticed that there is no link in this post to the fabulous online deal? Again, why would I advertise for someone intent on exterminating me?

Don’t forget tomorrow’s event at Dog Ears Books in Northport. Come at 5 p.m. for a reading by and discussion with Susan Newhof, author of Spirits and Wine. We will have fun! But please don’t bring a scanner and don’t mention that hated name to me! Susan is coming to help me sell books in my bookstore! My little corner of the world!

I'm sorry. I'm still having trouble believing it. It's so hard to believe that people in the business of selling books, of all things, would be so intent on total world domination. Selling books/promoting reading + total world domination: can you put those two pieces together in any coherent way. I just can't.

24 comments:

Michael J. Sheehan said...

Those who cannot be named obviously don't love books; they love bucks. My policy is to shop locally in brick and mortar shops.

Be vocal: go local!

P. J. Grath said...

Thanks, Michael, author of WORDS TO THE WISE and more!

Walt said...

For what it's worth, Pamela, they don't seem to be targeting bookstores with this new offer, so much as big-box stores that carry other items (electronics, etc.).

And it's not a straight $5 off, but 5%, up to $5, so for a typical $25 book it's really only $1.25, and not much of an incentive.

Of course, their ongoing attack on physical bookstores via their discount structure and (for now) lack of sales tax probably does quite well with susceptible shoppers. But I doubt many book shoppers will make use of this new one. It's too much trouble and time for too little money.

Go Dog Ears!

Loreen Niewenhuis said...

Your corner of Michigan is a true literary utopia and how the world should function. I hope the evil entity experiences a huge backlash from this latest, evil move.

Long live the indie bookstores!

P. J. Grath said...

Thanks for the clarificatio, Walt. I guess the "beleaguered" feeling explains my quick response. More importantly, thanks always for your support!

Loreen, thanks for your support, also. Your fans here in Utopia Up North are eager for the next book from you!

Gerry said...

In every aspect of our lives the feeding frenzy of the behemoths is raging. We spent centuries, as a species, struggling to free ourselves from serfdom, and we now seem prepared to go right back to the Bad Old Days in return for a short term promise of cheaper Stuff.

Yes, be vocal and go local and keep your eyes open for feeding dinosaurs.

Lynne Perkins said...

I mentioned this to a friend yesterday, and she said, "Apparently the 'buy local' movement is doing well enough for them to feel it. Which could be a sign of strength on our part."
As long as we don't rise up into their field of vision only to have them smoosh us.

P. J. Grath said...

Gerry, does your study of history ever lead you to wonder if every age has its own version of the threat of serfdom? Such a little time we are here....

Lynne Rae, I like your positive interpretation. The same had occurred to me, but now I'm going to buy into it fully. WE ARE STRONG! (Bless you!)

P. J. Grath said...

Wait a minute. Gerry, what did you mean by that mention of dinosaurs? Am I one?

Dawn said...

It's hard to believe that anyone would actually DO that, it seems totally unethical.

P. J. Grath said...

Dawn, a lot of what people would consider "unethical" in personal relationships is regarded in many (not all!) parts of our society as just part of doing business. It is not how I do business, and that is my choice. I do not believe a business offering goods and services must be predatory. To be predatory is also a choice. Shoppers make their own choices as to what kind of business model they will support. There is the "whatever we can get away with" model or the "what you see is what you get" model. In the free marketplace, buyers decide.

There are side issues, too, such as how employees are treated in different business models, and doubtless I've oversimplified by reducing the models to two.

dmarks said...

I'm shocked. wow.

I've linked to books from a big online seller in my posts for years. Recently, I attempted to make up for it somehow by promoting independent bookstores in each post there I did this.

I won't from now on. I'll stop the links, not the promotion of independent bookstores. I'll keep doing the latter.

I'm not sure what I will do about linking to them for movies or music, but I am doubting I will do that also.

dmarks said...

Ron Jolly was just now on the radio promoting Dog Ears and buying from local bookstores, and he mentioned the signing tonight.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to mention that this is a two way street. I look at people's wishlists on Unmentionable. Then print the list and take it to the local shops. The wishlists are convenient, but I shop where I please.

P. J. Grath said...

Hi, dmarks. Did you read Walt's comment above? The effect of this one-time, one-day deal will doubtless be a drop in the bucket compared to the 365 days a year that Behemoth ships without paying sales taxes and gets massive discounts not available to indies. Did I "overexpress" myself? The steam pressure has been building! Ron Jolly on WTCM is a great supporter of indie bookstores. He and Michael Sheehan (see first comment in thread) have a very entertaining show on Tuesday morning on the subject of the English language. You can listen and call in your question.

Anonymous, you are a creative shopper!

dmarks said...

PJ: Taxing intestate commerce raises eyebrows with me. I would guess that the discounts and sweetheart deals make a much bigger difference than the tax situation.

If the prices were the same, I'd think that the shipping charges would make typical online purchases usually cost more than from brick-and-mortar.

P. J. Grath said...

The question is, when is it interstate commerce, when the headquarters are in one state and warehouses scattered around the country? Also, the massive discounts allow Behemoth to offer free shipping on certain orders. Or so I am told. I am not a customer, so don't go by me.

Gerry said...

Hi, PJ - I would never think of you as a dinosaur. I was thinking more of being smooshed by something large. I agree with Lynne Rae about that, and about the strength of local focus. It's real, it's growing, and it operates completely independently of politics. Nice.

EDUC8 said...

Komar Associates, Inc. is a proud member of "Will Buy Locally," which promotes small businesses in Will County. ("Will," then, has a double meaning in the name of the group.)

P. J. Grath said...

That's a relief, Gerry! Phew! I wondered if I was being dense or something.

Bettie, good for you and Ben shopping your community. It's part of what keeps the Amish strong, you know.

Kathy said...

Oh no. That is awful. I won't say their name either, although can imagine who it might be, having been a guilty party to using them at times. Always love it when I can shop at Northwind Books or Snowbound Books. It feels extra-special.

P. J. Grath said...

Kathy, is Northwind the bookstore in Copper Harbor? If not, where is it? Snowbound, of course, I know well, and I feel special, too, when I go there and Diane remembers me, even if it's been a couple of years. She may not have my name on the tip of her tongue, but she says, "You have the bookstore!" I love it!

Kathy said...

It is in Hancock; it's affiliated with Finlandia now. I actually go to Snowbound more lately than Northwinds, but do enjoy both. How fun that Diane remembers your name! (She doesn't know me.)

Have a good Sunday, Pamela!

P. J. Grath said...

No, not my name, but she does remember who I am, which is enough for me. I'll have to check out Northwinds on my next visit to the Keewanaw, whenever that might be. I know it won't be soon enough!

Happy Sunday to all. The sun is shining here!