Last winter Amazon had a TV ad campaign for their Kindle e-reader which was downright enchanting. The ads showed us a device--to the adorable accompaniment of Little & Ashley's "Fly Me Away"--which would whisk the user to a magical world, the world, in fact, of books. It [almost] made me want to invest in the device.
This spring Amazon has taken the Kindle campaign in a different direction. Gone is the magic, the charm, the delight, the adorable soundtrack. In fact, Amazon has gotten downright mean. Their new TV ad campaign gives us a Kindle user and a reader of traditional books side by side, and in every instance portrays the book reader as an inane, simpering moron. In one ad, she says she likes books because she can mark her place by physically turning down the corner of a page. Then, when that experience turns out not to be as satisfying as she believed it would be, she snatches the Kindle out of her friend's hands. In the other ad, the book reader tells her friend, the Kindle user, she's off to the bookstore to pick up the latest book. When he shows her that he can pull the book out of thin air without ever leaving the comfort of his seat at Starbucks (okay, I'm embellishing that last bit), she's converted.
Why in the world would Amazon want to denigrate book readers? I know Jeff Bezos is already richer than Zeus and the entire Olympic court, but can he really afford to cavalierly alienate an entire segment of the reading public? We've always suspected it, but, omigod, does he really want to orchestrate the death of the bricks and mortar bookstore?
I've been an Amazon customer before. In fact, during my nine months of unemployment, when I didn't spend forty-plus hours a week in a bookstore, I was an avid Amazon customer. I bought books from Amazon, and I listed used books for sale on Amazon. I even became an Amazon Associate and linked back to them in this blog. I now see, however, that I can't have it both ways. The Kindle ad campaign was, for whatever reason, the last straw for me, and I have to make a stand. As of today I am no longer an Amazon customer or seller. I am laboriously going through all of my past blog posts and removing any links to Amazon.
They won't feel it. But if I expect people to suck it up and pay a slightly higher price to support my small independent bookstore (and its website) when it opens, I have to be willing to pay a little more and wait a little longer to get the books I want.
And there are always library sales...
2 months ago