A New York Times article has been blasting across many websites this morning. Thank God! I have been researching the impact that Amazon is having on our culture, and the picture that I’m finding is not appealing. The Amazon family of companies is impacting the availability of essentials:
– pantry items: “Amazon’s Prime Pantry Service Lets You Buy and Ship 45 Pounds of Groceries For a $6 Fee”
– Subscribe & Save: “6 Ways to Beat Amazon’s Prices”
– sales partners: “Amazon Favours Brands Like Burberry and Levis with ‘Pay To Play’ Strategy”
‐ household supplies, major appliances, construction tools
– warehouses: “Worse Than WalMart”
– crowdsourcing: “The Unregulated Work of Mechanical Turk”
– merchants: “What Amazon Doesn’t Tell Third-Party Sellers”
– professional services: “Amazon Eyes Local Services Market”
– affiliates who provide links to amazon.com on their webpages
‑ web services, tools, and supplies: “Amazon’s Wholesale Slaughter” for janitors, industries, medical professionals, building contractors, scientists, and others
‑ small business: “Retail Predatory Pricing Bully Tactics”
‑ reading: “Amazon controls about a third of the book business”
‑ toys, games, etc.
‑ Smile: “Why Amazon is Smiling and Charities May Be Losing”
Christopher Zara wrote that Amazon’s competitors are seeing
“ a world where storefronts are obsolete and economies are stimulated not by local merchants with a personal stake in where they do business but by a select few online players. It can be a depressing prospect if you care about things like civic engagement, livability and social capital, all of which tend to decline with the disappearance of local businesses.”
My friends and family are finding ways to start boycotting Amazon. Rob Hopkins posted at the Transition Network, in reference to Amazon, “I give so much of my time every day to trying to create a different, more just, more resilient world, yet my shopping decisions undermine that.” The resulting discussion raises issues about alternatives, Amazon’s motives, international laws that govern sales, and whether Google is posing a similar threat.
According to the New York Times article that is spreading like wildfire around the world this morning, John Grisham, Stephen King, Lemony Snicket, Nora Roberts, and 900+ other writers signed a letter that will be posted as a full-page ad in this Sunday’s New York Times. It is fueling debate about Amazon’s relationship with book publishers. The writers organized as Authors United. You can read the letter at their website.
Even Simon Head couldn’t help but support Amazon when salon.com reviewed his book “Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans”. He says that you might find that doing business with Amazon is “morally indefensible” after reading his reports. Yet, links to buy his book (and other anti-amazon books) land readers at amazon.com!
Some of my links above give ideas for alternatives to doing business with Amazon. Please share ideas in the comment section below, so we can each find more alternatives to supporting Amazon’s business practices.
Original Image by Claudio Toledo
This work is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License.
Modified by Grace Buchanan
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.