Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Tiny Little Stand

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.

What the--?

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...


EnriqueFreeque said...

Right on Becky! Amazon has always and will always care only about Amazon's bottom line, and will spit in the face of the brick-and-mortar book buying public that has supported it for a good decade just to appear "hip" with the times, cutting edge, the company -- and the people -- in the know in the world of books.

Amazon is no different than Big Oil or the Tobacco industry. They don't care about people or books, just bucks. I applaud your boycott and I may soon join you (though I have trepidation thinking of the exhaustive amount of work going back through old posts would be) I may eventually do so, like you. If more people would, they wouldn't have the arrogance to crap on their long loyal customer base so egregiously.

I also quit being an Amazon bookseller because of their hidden fees I wasn't aware of (as if they weren't making enough money, but just had to steal even more from me, not even a drop in the bucket). They're like the IRS. No mercy. It's taken great restraint for me in this comment not to drop some F bombs on those bass turds.

Despicable ad campaign. Your wrath is apropos.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Very interesting. I can see your point. I really seems like bad marketing.

Jon said...

The only reason I became an Amazon associate was so that I could easily post the book cover images along with my book reviews. I haven't seen a dime out of them so far. It's been useful, as it saves me having to use my scanner on the book covers, fiddle around with image size, and all that.

Is Amazon somehow imagining a world where all hard copies will disappear, and no one will buy them? I think that time is a long way out; certainly farther than most businesses plan for.

I bought a Nook at Christmas so that it's easier to take enough reading material along with me on vacations. On a trip to Portugal for two weeks before I bought it, I'd "wasted" too much space in my carry-on trying to make sure I had enough to read while I was overseas. I purchase very few books for it - generally only if I want something brand new instantly.

Best of luck to your coming book store! If I'm ever in your geographical location, I'll be sure to stop by and browse. One of life's true pleasures is wandering into a used book store and spending an hour or so perusing the shelves.

Sue Peterson said...

Oh Dear! I'm afraid I goofed! I have not seen the Kindle commercial - but agree with your thinking. Unfortunately, I ordered 5 specialist Running books from Amazon an hour ago! Sorry Froggie!!!!!

Conor said...

Bad marketing indeed. It's sad that Amazon has enough business that they don't care about alienating people. Too bad. Stumbled on your site through Follow Friday. I will make sure to keep up!