Today Amazon is promoting their Price Check app by offering up to five-dollars-off purchases when a customer goes into a brick-and-mortar store, scans the barcode of a product, and then buys the product through Amazon. This special offer doesn't apply to books, specifically, but the application is something that blatantly exploits the careful work of all small, local businesses. Huffington Post has a great article about the local bookstore response to this "Price Check" (in which we're mentioned). Also, I wanted to include the open letter to Jeff Bezos written by the CEO of the American Bookseller's Association, Oren Teicher. His words resonate with all of us booksellers.
Take care of your community, friends. The best part of working at Diesel during the holidays has been watching old friends run into one another while shopping. You're holding each other's babies and recommending books and catching up on who's married and whose start-up is really taking off. We love the neighborhood and hope to be here for a very long time, not just doing business, but providing a space for people to, you know, be people.
Courtesy of www.bookweb.org
Dear Jeff Bezos,
We’re not shocked, just disappointed.
Despite your company’s recent pledge to be a better corporate citizen
and to obey the law and collect sales tax, you created a price-check app
that allows shoppers to browse Main Street stores that do
collect sales tax, scan a product, ask for expertise, and walk out
empty-handed in order to buy on Amazon. We suppose we should be
flattered that an online sales behemoth needs a Main Street retail
Forgive us if we’re not.
We could call your $5 bounty to app-users a cheesy marketing move and
leave it at that. In fact, it is the latest in a series of steps to
expand your market at the expense of cities and towns nationwide,
stripping them of their unique character and the financial wherewithal
to pay for essential needs like schools, fire and police departments,
But maybe we’ve misunderstood.
Even though you’ve spent millions on lobbyists, fired affiliates in
seven states, and threatened to shut warehouses to avoid collecting
sales tax, maybe you really mean it now when you say you support a level
It’s up to you to show us.
In the meantime, indie retailers remain the heart of countless
communities — offering discovery, energy, support, and unique
experiences. See you on Main Street.
Oren Teicher, CEO
American Booksellers Association