Category Archives: Troy’s Rants

Would You Stop Buying Books from Amazon.com to Save the Book Industry?

Boycotting Amazon’s bookstore might mean, at least initially, that you’ll have pay a little more for books, or you’ll wait a little longer to get them, but it will also mean you’ll be more likely to enjoy the books you do purchase.

Ban Amazon

As Amazon’s dominance approaches that of true monopoly, the influence of all other booksellers is virtually eliminated.  As a result, the discoverability of books is driven by a revenue-maximizing-algorithm rather than curated by a caring human being who knows both books and their readers.

Exploiting their monopolistic power Amazon has become 100% vertically integrated—controlling every aspect of a book’s  production all the way to its sale to the reader.  As a result, Amazon exerts enormous control over authors and publishers. This directly controls the books readers have available to them.  Increased pressure is placed upon every book’s profitability, and potentially great books are not produced as riskier books can not be supported under Amazon’s business model.

Amazon’s treatment of books as loss leader and exploiting 3rd party vendors who often sell remaindered, review, or even pirated or stolen copies of books allows readers to enjoy low priced books. It is unreasonable to assume that these discounts will continue once Amazon’s competition has been completely eliminated. Border is gone, B&N, is in decline, and sales by independent bookstores are paltry compared to total book sales. Amazon already owns the sale of books on the world wide web.  In fact, Amazon sells 43% if everything sold on the web!

Related Reading:
The problems are far more complex and profound that I have presented above.  Please consider reviewing these articles that touch on different aspects on why Amazon’s dominance is bad of all of us, not just for those of us who care about the importance of books.

Boycotting Amazon’s bookstore is one small way we can have an effect.  We can no longer wait for Amazon’s monopoly to be broken up by ur government.  Too much damage has been done already.

Would you consider helping to organize, or joining an effort, to a boycott the buying of books from Amazon to reverse their control of the book industry so they we can enjoy better books and more of the profit they generate?

Please fill out the form below and let us know what you think.

The survey is now over. You may review the results and comments here.

How Facebook is Perverting Your Internet.

A friend shared a link to a video on Facebook with me. The video, shown at the end of the article, is a short New York Times documentary which describes how Facebook is changing the Internet.

Of course I found the video interesting.  The video describes just one problem a very powerful company like Facebook creates. This is a subject I’ve observed and written about for almost a decade. I’m happy to see an entity with a platform as large and respected as The New York Times take this issue on.

I was directed to Facebook to watch this video. The Times embedded the video on Facebook. It appears The Times felt more people would view the video on Facebook than on their website, or any other place they might share it. Apparently the revenue The Times loses and that Facebook gains, as a result of giving the video to Facebook, was worth the trade off. However it also illustrates how The Times actually helps Facebook become more dominant further exacerbating the problem the video describes.

For that reason, I’ve decided to share the video here rather than send viewers to Facebook. The Times titled the video “How Facebook is Changing Your Internet.” I chose to substitute the word “Perverting.” “Changing” is a rather innocuous term, not good or bad, just different. I wanted to be clear; Facebook’s dominance is bad, really bad, for a myriad of reasons. This video does a good job in helping to explain why. If you agree, please share the information in any fashion that makes sense to you.

The following information was obtained from The New York Times.  

Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web
By Paul Mozur, Mark Scott, and Mike Isaac, Sept. 17, 2017

Amazon‘s Echo Look: Exploiting Our Inner Narcissist

The depth to which a corporation will sink to exploit our insecurities and separate us from our money knows no bounds.

Amazon now wants to tell us how to dress.  I can hear is now,

“Alexa, do these jeans make me look fat?”
“No, but these jeans, for $79.99 (free shipping), will improve your look. Make sure you share this with your friends.”

Do we really want an organization, motivated solely by money, to become such an integral part of our lives? Is it in our best interest to give Amazon so much of our personal information, not just want we are wearing, but also what insecurities are?

By giving Amazon so much of our personal information we help them, and anyone else they sell our information to, exploit us for profit.  We are being manipulated without our knowledge and in ways we can‘t fully appreciate or comprehend.

Protect yourselves by protecting your privacy.  

The government is not going to help protect you.  Journalists will let you know what is happening and help you understand why it matters, but their platforms and reach are being weakened every day, and are no match for the slick presentations of Amazon.

All of this while Amazon eliminates jobs across the country.

Back in September of last year (2016), the American Booksellers Association and Civic Economics released a full update of their “Amazon and Empty Storefronts” study.

“The updated study again shows that — whether it’s in dollars lost in sales and property tax revenue, far fewer retail storefronts serving local communities, or significant job losses — Amazon has a massive, overall negative impact on the American economy,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “We need to come to grips with the fact that every American consumer is paying a high price for Amazon’s growth.”
—“Updated Study Drives Home Amazon’s Negative Impact on Economy” By David Grogan, Sep 28, 2016

ESSENTIAL NATIONAL FINDINGS 2015 (read the full report)

  • In 2015, Amazon sold $55.6 billion worth of retail goods nationwide, all while avoiding $704 million in sales taxes.  The cost of lost sales taxes falls equally on state and local governments.
  • These sales are the equivalent of 39,000 retail storefronts or 133 million square feet of commercial space, which might have paid $528 million in property taxes.
  • A total of more than $1.2 billion in revenue is lost to state and local governments.
  • Amazon also operated 75 million square feet of distribution space, employing roughly 111,000 workers.
  • Even counting all the jobs in Amazon distribution centers, Amazon sales produced a net loss of 222,000 retail jobs nationwide.

How Amazon Impact Job Growth and why it matters