The Washington Post has a three-part series chronicling a recent workshop in Menlo Park, California focused on finding ways to save independent bookstores. [Day 3 is here][wp], with links to the previous two days. The threat? Amazon.
Oh, Amazon, I don’t know how to feel about you anymore. Life on the South Coast would be, first, intellectually poorer, and, second, more expensive with you.
That is, we have no local bookstores except for Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million — okay, I’m not counting our one goofy used bookstore and the handful of Christian bookstores. Our local public library is strictly a browsing library and our university library hasn’t bought much in the way of new books since 2005. Amazon has been our one conduit for maintaining any kind of relationship with intellectual currency.
But Amazon’s business practices — their pricing practices, their treatment of employees (especially those in their distribution centers) — seem only to reveal a cut-throat approach to the world.