Amazon Giant: Friend or Foe?
Oh, Amazon, you never cease to amaze us. The newest marketing plan Amazon is promoting encourages consumers to walk out of retail stores, taking their money and their business with them. Amazon is promising a 5%, up to $15 discount to anyone who downloads and uses their new barcode app. With the app, a person would visit a retail store, use the app to scan the barcode of an item they wish to purchase, and then they return home, order said item from Amazon, and BAM—instant savings. It seems the company may be starting a movement of their own: Occupy Your Computer, anyone?
Amazon is known for offering consumers an outlet to browse, compare, and shop that is both convenient and affordable, but could the company be on its way to monopolizing the retail market, and if so, what would then happen to their super low savings? Obviously, no matter how big the Amazon giant gets, there will always be retail stores, but what about small, local shops, such as indie bookstores? They would be the first to feel the effects of such a large corporation edging into their consumer market.
The rapid changes to the book industry, along with the revolution of the e-book, have been catastrophic enough to small, locally owned and operated bookstores (and even larger corporations, such as Borders), and now with Amazon’s incentive to ditch retail stores in favor of buying online, one must wonder how indie book shops will survive.
Anyone who keeps up to date with the latest trends in the book world knows that much of the marketing and buzz regarding the latest and greatest in literature comes not from Amazon, but from actual book stores. These stores foster a sense of community, a place where the literary inclined can meet, discuss, and learn from one another. Also, authors and publishers are aware of this community, and target such bookstores as places to market their products.
So, the question must be asked: Without retail book stores to market and promote books, how will book junkies get their fix? And the biggest question of them all: Will our society forgo the passion and determination of small, individually owned shops all for the convenience and affordability of a large corporation?
I suppose the answer awaits us.