What we do here:

Work on our stuff. Dissolve stuck. Play. Experiment. Rewrite patterns. We take sometimes-heavy things* and we make them more fun, playful, manageable.

I also write about my conversations with walls and monsters, and what it's like to work on a pirate ship. Good times.

* Sometimes-heavy things include: mindfulness and presence, pain and trauma, business-growing, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity

 

The Amazon Fail and the WAY bigger fail

The one who got away. Or not.

A few years ago, I was looking for a business mentor.

To hire. Basically, a coach. Just that the word “coach” got on my nerves, which was one of the reasons I needed one since no one was hiring me since they didn’t know what I actually did.*

*What I actually did? Um, something very much like coaching.

Anyway, I’d narrowed it down to three likely candidates, none of whom I could really afford, but I knew that the success of my business was going to depend on someone pointing me in the right direction. Or really, any direction.

I was going to meet — in person — with candidate #1, because he lived in San Francisco, which is where I was at the time.

But then he wanted to meet at a Starbucks.

Me (inside my head): Starbucks? You want to be the one to help me grow my small, local business and you don’t even support small, local businesses? You have your own small, local business and you still don’t support small, local businesses?

Me (out loud): You know what? I’m not really ready for this right now.

Parenthetical mini-lesson here, if you’re interested.

All of a sudden it was alarmingly clear that my stupid lists of pros and cons about working with this person versus that person were so completely irrelevant.

I needed to work with someone whose values matched mine and that was that.

And I found a business mentor who also had a serious yoga and meditation practice. The kind of guy who was more concerned about how much rest I was getting than how much I was getting done.

Everyone who’s anyone in the business world says you have to niche niche niche. But the truth is, if you have a personality — and a set of values — that your Right People can identify with, it really doesn’t matter.

You heard it here first. Okay. On to the actual point.

Fast forward to this weekend.

The mass freaking-out over Amazon’s general asshattery was pretty huge.

Twitter got completely taken over by the #amazonfail tag, which beat out even “Jesus”, “Easter” and the super creepy kid who launched the virus that was hijacking people’s accounts (including that of my gentleman friend, who got locked out of his).

Basically, for anything to beat out a badass Twitter virus and Easter … it had to be big. And it is.

Here’s why people are furious with Amazon, if you’re not caught up:

Amazon changed their sales ranking system to remove or “derank” certain books that (according to them, of course) are “adult” or otherwise inappropriate.

It’s just that — extremely conveniently — what they’ve decided is “adult” and inappropriate turns out to be mostly books related to themes of GLBT sexuality, feminism, or sex education.

Oh, and stuff like Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

So … Ellen DeGeneres: A Biography is deranked. And … The Complete A**hole’s Guide To Handling Chicks is not. So yeah, people are upset.

Not only is it just an asshat thing to do, the ranking system is how customers find books. So if certain books (ones that are somehow related to sexuality, with an additional emphasis on those that have to do with homosexuality and queer culture) aren’t ranking, their sales go down. Which further “deranks” them.

So there are a couple things going on here. The result (whatever the intention), which comes across as as bigoted and obnoxious. And then, purely from a business perspective, you’ve got pretty much the least level playing field that ever was.

So yeah, that’s awful. But why is everyone so surprised?

Here’s what is puzzling me.

All over the internet, people are up in arms over this. Authors, friends of authors, people who write books, people who buy books. People are dropping their Amazon links in favor of Powells links. In droves.

Which is awesome.

Except … why now? I don’t get it.

That Amazon is not the nicest company in the world? How is this even news?

Come on.

For one thing, they’re the reason you don’t have a bookstore in your town. They Walmart-ed them out of existence.

(I argued in my post about why it’s not the economy that even under the toughest of circumstances, there are still all sorts of things you can do to survive and even to thrive. So it’s not necessarily an excuse. But it’s a hell of a challenge.)

But that’s not even the half of it.

They’ve hatched one ploy after another in what many people have labelled an attempt to secure a monopoly on print on demand (POD) services by putting everyone else out of business.

The threat was this: if other POD companies wanted to sell their books on Amazon, they’d have to use (and pay for) Amazon’s printing system or the buy buttons on their books would be turned off. Slimy. And probably illegal.

Oh, and they sell fur. And cock-fighting videos. And so on.

If you’re a small business owner, supporting small business should not be a new concept.

Of course I’m happy to see all the authors I follow on Twitter switching to Powell’s as the place to sell their books.

But if we want to succeed as independent, quirky, small businesses — if we want the itty biz dream — taking a stand in favor of our fellow independents should be the norm.

As I said in my anti-Starbucks rant in the milk song post (which made me insanely happy to reread just now because it reminded me of Mario):

If you’re an independent small business owner — even if you don’t think of yourself as one because it’s just you and your laptop and maybe a cat — step up and support your fellow creative, independent neighborhood person who is working himself (or herself) ragged, pouring heart and soul into giving you a human experience.

And I ranted about how we shouldn’t buy from Amazon when I wrote about Seth Godin’s Triiibes. And then I mentioned the Starbucks thing again here (which got me hate mail) and here (which didn’t). I asked you guys to help keep Portland’s nonprofit women’s bookstore In Other Words alive.

So yeah, I’ve talked about this so often that I know people are sick of it. Yes, it is my “thing”. But it’s a really big deal to me. Because you know what?

HERE’S THE POINT. IT’S IMPORTANT.

It SHOULD NOT HAVE TO TAKE being offended by policies of discrimination to make us take our business elsewhere. We had no business doing business there to begin with.

Postscript.

If you google “Amazon Rank” the google bomb version is currently the #2 result thanks to this article from Smart Bitch Trashy Books.

And Amazon has cried “glitch”. And there’s already a new hashtag on Twitter called #glitchmyass.

So much for the Amazon Fail. I still say that I, uh, fail to understand why it’s taken everyone so long to get upset enough to stop buying from them. But I like it.

38 Responses to The Amazon Fail and the WAY bigger fail

  1. christy
    Twitter: twitchinggrey
    says:

    See? I come here for more than just The Duck.

    Havi, thank you. Brilliant.

    Amen and amen.

    christys last blog post..The Fallacy of Time

  2. chas says:

    havi

    i hate it when your passionate logic flies in the face of convenience and good prices…you leave me stuck between ethics and affordability…ack!

    chass last blog post..monday morning motivator! 20, it’s what’s inside that counts

  3. emma says:

    I had been toying with the idea of taking the Amazon widget off my blog, and you just convinced me. I must admit I’ve been slow to merge my beliefs with my actions when it comes to my consumer habits. Convenience frequently wins out. I’d never heard of Powell’s. Thank you so much for the link and recommendation. I find a ton of inspiration from your blog, enough even that I’m taking baby steps to change. You rock!

    emmas last blog post..Pleasure Bouquets: Rebirth

  4. It’s about f**king time! I hate, HATE, that my favorite neighborhood bookstore in Brooklyn closed, that countless others whose books are curated by small business owners like myself have had such a hard time cause of Amazon. But as you say, it’s so much more than just books. Its about us. me. MY BUSINESS and YOURS.

    Thanks, Havi. Have reposted this everywhere I can!

    Dana Corey, Spicy Princesss last blog post..Vulnerability and Orgasms

  5. colleen says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. The whole #amazonfail issue has been a sharp reminder that we consumers have become complacent… and lazy. I appreciate your comments, and will take them to heart. :)

  6. Mary says:

    Havi,

    Thank you for addressing this. I’ve been an anti-fan of Amazon for some time, but I have to love it when they give me such an easy reason to further dismiss them.

    The unfortunate thing is that they have their fingers in every pie online, it seems, including Twitter. Guess that’s illustrative of how such things can bite you in the rear. :-)

    Marys last blog post..Apr 12, Amazon Fails

  7. randomling
    Twitter: lucyviret
    says:

    Okay… honestly? Ouch.

    I’m livid at Amazon right now and I think that what they are doing fails on a multitude of levels. And – to be honest, I don’t think much about stuff on a big business/small business level. I shop in supermarkets, I used to buy from Amazon, I go to Starbucks sometimes, I’ve been known to buy music from iTunes… and I don’t know, I don’t generally feel bad about it.

    Then again – as of right now, I don’t run a small business. I don’t know if I see “being an author” as a small business exactly (though, not sure what else it would be, exactly!) – and one day I hope to get to the point where I am an author but right now that doesn’t even apply to me.

    Usually my favourite business are the independent ones – that’s where I get my breakfast every morning, not at Starbucks, but a local independent cafe. But I work for a large corporation. Sometimes the large corporation is the cheaper answer and it’s often the easier answer and… my energy can’t go everywhere.

    (I am very, very wary of posting this comment, because it’s not agreeing with you 100%, and OMG Havi, I am so desperate for you to like me! But I think honesty is best, and this is a weird and kind of fraught issue for me.)

    [resists the urge to finish by apologizing]

    randomlings last blog post..Mental images.

  8. Joely Black says:

    I completely agree. From a purely “I’m an insane wacko who likes to read REAL books not little electronic things in a fake plastic cover” perspective, there is something utterly delicious about spending hours in a bookstore, especially one whose organisational system appears to be based on some alphabet as yet unheard of on Earth.

    Buying *real* books from a *real* bookstore is a love experience for me.

    From the author’s perspective, Amazon has been head of the hate list for a long time. They have been driving the price of books down extremely low and demanding publishers give them discount rates so punitive that writers are undercut. This makes it much, much harder for a writer to survive and make a living from what they do. That blew up last year when authors began trying to get their readers to boycott Amazon.

    I’m not perfect, I buy through Amazon, but it’s being used by a lot of little independent stores in the marketplace section and if you’re happy to adopt and give love to a used book then I don’t feel so bad about it.

    With love,

    J xx

    Joely Blacks last blog post..Die, and breathe the clear air once more

  9. Tara
    Twitter: blondechicken
    says:

    For those looking for another option, IndieBound.org lets you create an affiliate link (but you don’t have to) and the buyer puts in their own zip code to find their OWN local, indie bookstores.
    I feel better about this than even Powell’s (since I’m across the country!)

    Taras last blog post..6 tips for Spinning Cotton Roving

  10. Dick Carlson
    Twitter: techherding
    says:

    Once, long ago, in a land far away…

    … a young man ran a small photo lab. (Well the land was Seattle. And the young man was me.)

    We processed film for people, and did an amazing job. High quality, special services, just-exactly-so customer treatment. Even that newfangled (back then) one-hour stuff.

    Then came the “ONE HOUR PHOTO MACHINES”. In the drug stores, the grocery stores, in Target/Costco/Phone Booths and your car trunk. It got harder and harder for us to make any money, and now (about twenty years later) I’m not in that business any more. And most of the prints you get now (whether from film or digital) suck big bananas.

    But they sure are cheap. And they sure are fast. And they are available everywhere.

    Wow.

    All those folks whining about the loss of little bookstores, or little coffee shops, or hardware stores, or gas stations that clean your windshield — they’re the ones that caused it. Not WalMart or Amazon or Costco.

    A hammer is just a tool.

    Dick Carlsons last blog post..Celebrate What You Suck At!

  11. Community is so important. It’s not only important for our souls, it’s important for our economy. Economists know (but aren’t too public about) the effect of Walmart is destroying communities and prosperity. Powells has a lot more community than Amazon!

    I think (and our channeling seems to say) that the world is heading in that direction – where community is placed above profit. It’s going to be a rough shakeup as economies and nations readjust to different priorities, but at the end we will have a more joyful world.

    Matthew | Polaris Risings last blog post..Having issues *about* issues.

  12. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak
    says:

    I, for one, am *not* sick of you talking about the need for us to support small businesses. You are right, it is extremely important that we do so, and we can all make good use of the reminder at one point or another. The huge difference it can make in our communities is definitely worth it. Thank you, Havi, for making it your “thing”.

  13. @randomling – You make a valid point, I think. We only have so many hours in a day, and so much energy. I think the key is awareness, so that you can make considered choices. Maybe you decide to switch to a local farmer’s market for your produce…but occasionally you’re running late and will need to stop in the huge chain grocery store. Whatever. If you’re taking little steps to support local business (or any other cause of your choice) whenever you reasonably can, I believe you’re still making a real difference.

    @Tara – Thanks for the IndieBound info! I’d never heard of them. Another good option is http://www.betterworldbooks.com/ (check out their “All About Us” page–pretty amazing). Plus free shipping in the U.S., and very cheap worldwide! So you save money while eliminating landfill waste, supporting libraries, and doing other cool things to promote worldwide literacy.

    Michelle Russells last blog post..Counterintuitive Clutter

  14. Anna-Liza
    Twitter: Divina712
    says:

    You need to keep talking about this, because it takes a really long time and much repetition, and people forget.

    This is why my blog is affiliated with The Tattered Cover in Denver, and not (EVER) Amazon. BTW, if people are in the central part of the country, please consider using The Tattered Cover. The owner is a staunch supporter of the First Amendment and went through a court battle because she refused to release customer sales records to the police.

    Anna-Lizas last blog post..Pollyanna Hits the Road

  15. Karen says:

    In Cuba, community is everything. I suppose that is going to change, too.

  16. Carina Kadow
    Twitter: chalcara
    says:

    I actually happen to LIKE Starbucks.

    No matter where I am, if I need something comforting and known right now, I can go into Starbucks and offer a tall vaninalla mocha and be happy. Starbucks will be there and and nearly the same everywhere. Sometimes that’s exactly what I need.

    Going into a small coffeshop’s kinda an adventure and at least here many, many of them suck. :(

    Carina Kadows last blog post..Old convictions and an epiphany

  17. Peter says:

    Unfortuantely, Havi, you and everyone else fell hook, line and sinker for a “moral outrage” attack created by a hacker. He used a script and clever social engineering to cause thousands of people to vote for books on Amazon as “inappropriate”, thereby making it look like Amazon was flagging everything. The reality was that it’s an automated process. Too many people flag a book, and it get’s banned. The guy in question is a well known hardcore troll. A troll who happens to think user-generated “voting” systems are stupid.

    The “why now” is because it was a holiday weekend. Amazon was running a skeleton customer service crew and he was more likely to get away with it.

    Here’s an explanation of what he was doing http://community.livejournal.com/brutal_honesty/3168992.html and here’s an article on “bantown” attacks where special interest groups attack internet communities using trolling, social engineering and hacking to cause widespread moral outrage. (Remember “nipplegate” with breastfeeding moms vs. facebook?) http://tehdely.livejournal.com/88823.html

  18. Ann Pifer says:

    This is why us little independent retailers are getting on the bandwagon of “The 3/50 Project” – encouraging consumers to pick 3 of their favorite independent local retailers that they want to see survive this crappy economic period, and commit to spending $50 each month at those stores. Check it out at http://www.the350project.org. Because BIG companies get bailouts, and little ones like us just depend on our local communities to stay alive, and those communities depend on us to keep them vibrant!

  19. Richard says:

    @Peter: Rather than go into the cause of the incident (though it’s actually far from clear that this credit-seeking hacker had anything to do with Amazon’s woes), allow me to suggest that it hardly matters.

    As a quick re-reading might show you, Havi’s post isn’t even about that — it’s about the reaction to the hullabaloo, and (more importantly) the importance of supporting local businesses, especially if you happen to be one.

  20. Brandon W says:

    If you happen to be in the Asheville, NC area, Malaprops is a fine little independent bookstore (www.malaprops.com). In Bellingham, WA you’ll find Village Books (www.villagebooks.com) which appears to be part of aforementioned IndieBound.org network. I like the idea of IndieBound.org, supporting your very OWN local bookstore, wherever you may be. But I can personally vouch for the two I’ve mentioned here.

    Brandon Ws last blog post..brandonsw: @tamera My brother always writes "thank $diety" … but he’s a programmer geek.

  21. Anna Barnett
    Twitter: annabarnett
    says:

    @Carina – me too with Amazon, pretty much. It’s *comforting* to shop there, because everything is there. For cheap. And all those opinions – I just love a great info hoard. If I use it, I feel like I’m not going to miss anything.

    I want to live in a world full of lovely independent bookstores. (Because I’m an independent-bookstore-lover, not because I’m a businessperson, which I’m not. And maybe there are a bunch of big-box-homogeny-loving online-small-buisnesspeople out there. Maybe not reading this blog though.)

    But I also want the world to have Amazon-like infotastic-ness, if only so I can refer to it before buying locally.

    The Powell’s equivalent here in London seems to be Foyle’s, which embarrassingly I only just discovered through a google search prompted by this post. (I’m a new-ish expat and London really likes to hide things from me. I love you, London.)

    So yeah, Havi, thanks for pushing this. I for one needed a nudge.

  22. Two of my immediate neighbors work for Amazon and several friends. This makes Amazon more local for me and creates a whole different set of questions for me. I know i don’t support my neighbors and friends by buying books from Amazon but it makes it far from a big box company for me. But then, Costco is a local company too. And Microsoft. I get very confused about where to spend my money and end up spreading it around, small local and big local. And then something happens like trying to do my house re-fi locally and almost getting ripped off to the tune of 4200. So now going with Met Life through a local broker.. the world truly is flat.

    Jennifer Loudens last blog post..At Kripalu – Join us Energetically

  23. Ellen Reich says:

    They say that when you are about to give criticism you start by saying something positive, then your not so wonderful critique, then end on a positive note, so that’s what I’ll do.

    Positive #1: I’ve been reading and enjoying your posts for maybe six weeks or so. I’m finding them both amusing and useful, especially the one on banishing the phrase “shameless self promotion” from your vocabulary. I have.

    Criticism: Well, doh. Of course people should shop locally, and I say that not only because I own a teeny tiny business. I also said that when I worked for a labor union, such that they are in the US, representing workers in some of the largest corporations on the planet.

    But, I want to take issue especially with the “why now” bit. It’s “why now” because people didn’t really like Amazon so much anyway. (And, in general, loads of folks have just had it with big corporations.) If this happened with a company people loved (I really can’t think of any that are Amazon’s size and have their impact
    that people love, but that’s hot my point) people would believe the excuse that it was a “glitch” or, bend over backwards to defend the company, or at the very least, would not be up in arms. It’s precisely because people were looking for an excuse to throw Amazon under the bus, that they threw Amazon under the bus.

    There’s a lot of resentment at companies simmering out there. This #amazonfail business just turned up the heat a bit, and caused it to boil over.

    Positive #2: Well, thanks for letting me write my little tome. And, I can’t wait to see what else you have in store.

  24. Diana says:

    @Michelle Thanks for the betterworldbooks link!

    Dianas last blog post..Suddenly in Sunlight

  25. Char
    Twitter: Charsfirststep
    says:

    I’m not entirely clear what the problem is with Amazon – other than they aren’t local and they did something with de-ranking?

    Could you link me to another article explaining this more fully?

    I read a ton – from the library, buy eBooks, support my local bookstore and have an Amazon.com visa which gives me $25 to spend on Amazon for every $2500 I spend on my charge. I charge most things so often end up with a nice chunk of change for book shopping at the end of the month – or for gifts for others – whatever.

    And, I’m always looking forward to those gift certificates and grateful to get them from an online store that delivers promptly, has reviews of the books, recommendations, etc.

    It works for me. In fact, it works so well that they asked me to join Amazon Vine. Every month they send a list of books that they want reviews for and I get to select two, read them and review them for free.

    That works for me too. My independent bookkstore needless to say has much higher prices and doesn’t offer me an opportunity even close to what Amazon does.

    Similarly, Starbucks has consistently great bold blend coffee. Because I like it so much and also because I know the franchise owner in my area who employs local people, I frequent them often. And proudly!

    With respect to Starbucks, since the franchise owner is local as well as the people who work there – I believe I’m doing my part to support a local business regardless of the fact that they’re affiliated with a national company.

    We have some independent coffee places and they’re not conveniently located for me. I go there when I’m in the area but don’t make a special trip. But, I could do that and maybe I will now that you mentioned this.

    I am always open to revisiting my buying habits and I would like to understand more about why you are boycotting Amazon. Thanks.

  26. willa says:

    Amazon is sort of the exception that proves the rule about big box businesses (at least it was prior to this latest explosion). Sure, it drives prices down, but it offers a much more level playing field to a lot more people than anything else ever has. It allows niche products to thrive via the “long tail” phenomenon (easy to google if you haven’t heard of it).

    I love local bookstores, but no local bookstore is ever going to be able to offer the kind of selection Amazon does; while I agree that the deranking of the GLBT/feminist/etc books is a huge problem, I would find it a huge problem if they stopped selling/supporting the sales of books I disagree with too. If the market for those books isn’t there, fine, that’d be great. But if the market is there and Amazon refuses to sell the books on moral grounds…well…how are we to know who they’re coming for next? I don’t want *any* censorship, I don’t just not want censorship of things I happen to approve of.

    Oh, and Powell’s is no more a small local business than Amazon unless you happen to live near there.

  27. Erika says:

    Thank you, I am going to my little Oblong Books here in town. I was just lazy sometimes, even to get my ass off the chair and my eyes off the screen.

  28. Kaushik says:

    Brilliant!

    But I had to look up ‘asshat’ in the urban dictionary…

    Kaushiks last blog post..The Power of Intention – how to stop the cycle of madness

  29. Tiara
    Twitter: tiaramerchgirl
    says:

    Peter – the Weev thing has been debunked. Weev is rather known for “confessing” to things he didn’t do for attention.

    Tiaras last blog post..Alternatives to Amazon (please update!) #amazonfail [1]

  30. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi
    says:

    @randomling – It’s okay, sweetie. You don’t ever have to agree with me on this one (or about anything, really). And the truth is, that hardly anyone agrees with me on this one.

    Even in Portland — a city I moved to specifically because it seemed more pro-local, pro-indie, pro-sustainable than anywhere else in the States — people are constantly surprised that I won’t say, spend money at a Walgreens or whatever the nearest box is.

    And even the ones that totally get that… they still don’t get it when I won’t shop at Trader Joe’s.

    So yes, I’m the freak. It’s been very hard to find anyone who has as strong feelings about this as I do.

    This is just something that I am really passionate about, and that most people — even ones I’m friends with — don’t really get. Luckily, my gentleman friend and my brother are on board completely, so I don’t end up feeling completely crazy.

    @willa –
    Oh, and Powell’s is no more a small local business than Amazon unless you happen to live near there.

    That’s partly right. And partly problematic.

    In my case, of course, I do live near Powell’s. I walk there. You’re right that if you’re not in the Pacific Northwest, there are lots of other options, as people were kind enough to point out.

    At the same time, I have to say that, despite its size, I can’t compare Powell’s to Amazon. For one thing, it’s still independent, not run by the stockholders. For another, I’ve met the owner and he’s a genuine “guy who likes to read”. The people who work there are all book people.

    I’d also make the point that there’s a huge conceptual difference between businesses that expand within a city or in a concentrated way (like Powell’s and Zingermans and the other companies featured Bo Burlingham’s excellent book Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big) and the ones that expand boundlessly.

    If you’re looking at it from the perspective of, say, my local indie feminist non-profit bookstore, of course, then yes, from that angle it’s harder to see the differences.

  31. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi
    says:

    @Jen Louden – I know what you mean. I have the same thing with Borders. I went to elementary school with the kids. I knew them. The original Borders was my favorite bookstore in the entire world.

    So now it’s hard for me to remember that yeah, they sold out to freaking K-mart and they’re just a box like any other box. My gentleman friend has a fondness for lots of companies that I don’t like, because he’s from California and so for him they’re still “local”.

    I think that’s pretty natural. When something feels comfortable and familiar, it’s hard to separate that out from the company’s actual policies and actions.

    And again, as I said to @randomling, I don’t really expect people to feel as strongly about this as I do. For me it’s a big ideological thing and for most people I know, that’s just annoying. Oh well.

    And for the “flat world” thing, I think you’re on to something. Local is only one facet of “living by values”. And it’s not living by values if you end up getting screwed over just because someone is your neighbor. So I think that’s a good point you’re making … that local by itself can end up being meaningless without all the other qualities we need something to give us …

    @Peter – I appreciate that you want to keep us from making factual errors. That’s really sweet of you. Apparently, though, it’s actually *not* the work of a hacker. Or at least, Wired magazine, The New York Times, and even Amazon itself have all confirmed that it wasn’t a hack.

    But even if it had been? Wouldn’t change the other 97% of my blog post and the actual point, which is that we as small business owners should be supporting fellow small business owners. I’ve been making this point consistently on the blog for ages and, likely as not, I’m going to keep making it. We do what we do.

    Even if Amazon had been completely blameless in every way in this deranking thing, that still doesn’t change the way they intentionally tried to muscle every single POD company in the States out of business. It still doesn’t change my views on buying local and supporting independent in every way I can. It definitely doesn’t change my position on bullying, monopoly and all sorts of other things.

    Next time I’ll try to be more clear though about how the principle outranks the example. I hope that will help things.

  32. [...] 13, 2009 by Mam Adar I can’t make a better statement on AmazonFail than Havi does here. Go read her. Oh, and she has a duck, too. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Amazon [...]

  33. [...] actually my favorite part of this was havi’s post, which used the controversy to wedge into a potent conversation of local vs. big box. [...]

  34. creativevoyage
    Twitter: creativevoyage
    says:

    Can I give a shout out to my local independent bookshop? http://www.word-power.co.uk/ in Edinburgh UK. I compromise I use Amazon to get ISBN details then email them through to my local bookshop when I’m ordering new books and use Amazon to order secondhand books greener and also supporting local and small busisnesses.

    I do my best to support local businesses but think I could do more thanks for reminding me.

    creativevoyages last blog post..fun park

  35. JoVE
    Twitter: jovanevery
    says:

    I think the other thing is why Powells? For you, yeah, Powell’s. You live in Portland. They are a local independent. They have the advantage of a good online ordering system but could become another big bookseller like Amazon.

    Not all local independents are easy to link to online. And many have not worked out that service is important (one of mine closed for a week to move location and didn’t tell me that would delay an order I made with them). Or they don’t have the ability to get things quickly.

    But you are right. More people should make the effort to support local business. Booksellers included.

    JoVEs last blog post..It’s that time of year: SSHRC Standard Research Grant decisions are out

  36. willa says:

    So….the difference between Powell’s and Amazon is success? I mean, really, it seems like that’s what it comes down to. I do understand you about businesses that *choose* to stay small, but I am also sure that one factor behind that “choice” is opportunity; if Powell’s thought it could have succeeded as Amazon, it would probably have done so.

    (shrug) We all have our priorities. I choose to shop at businesses that support my values, and if that means Whole Foods in addition to my local, non-chain health food stores, well, we live in an era of big businesses, and there’s something to be said for helping the better big businesses outcompete the worse ones.

  37. [...] | Tags: Java Stop, Tattered Cover, Ziggi’s Anna-Liza here. As usual, Havi said it better than I can here. I don’t shop at Amazon. I realize there’s the whole cost/convenience thing, but do we [...]

  38. [...] yesterday?–bank of america supporting a buy local campaign. ah, the richness, especially given the big conversation around buying local over at the fluent [...]

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