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Wendy Jones: "I will do my best to deal with the objections to a boycott [Amazon].

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The following was shared by @Wendy Jones on the the page where I posted the results of the survey of the question; would you stop buying book from Amazon's bookstore to save the book industry?

 


 

Where to begin. Well, first I'll answer the question Troy posed to me then I will attempt to answer some of the points made by the people who don't think it's a good idea to boycott Amazon.

How did I decide to write a letter to the CEO resigning from being an Amazon purchaser? Here is one of the articles I read. This one deals with inhuman treatment of workers:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/amazon-devastating-expose-accuses-internet-retailer-of-oppressive-and-callous-attitude-to-staff-10458159.html


I also read an expose in Mother Jones by an undercover investigative reporter. Here it is:
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/mac-mcclelland-free-online-shipping-warehouses-labor/


There is a third article, which I will continue looking for, in which British people came to the US to work for Amazon and were worked without pay, that is enslaved.

As much as possible, I avoid supporting enslavement or sweatshop working conditions, though I know I am not completely successful. For instance, Goodreads, which I am on as a reader and a writer is owned by Amazon, but--I am told-- not yet managed by them.

Now, about the book business. I am a writer and the owner of a small press. New to the book business, but not new in hearing about certain aspects of it, I do research and talk to my fellow writers and the people who worked on the book Ida Bell Publishing, LLC just published.

I will do my best to deal with the objections to a boycott.

1) Low Cost Books:


As someone who reads about a book a week, I can understand that very few avid readers can afford full price books. That is why I have been a lifelong user of the public library system. Maybe my experience in New Jersey is unique, but I can get any book or movie that I want through my local library. My local library just joined a consortium--a group of libraries in the area that share books-- that nearly eliminates the need for interlibrary loan. Books have shown up in a few days, so far always less than a week.  

Some books are must haves either for yourself or for friends. For discount books, I have used Alibris.com successfully. The Strand.com is no longer that useful. There are others, which I am sure you know and listed in your comments.  

The Amazon pattern is an old one. Look up the history of  Standard Oil. Same tune, different lyrics. 

Venture capitalists invest in Amazon so they can afford to take a loss and put their profits into buying up Whole Foods and building brick and mortar bookstores--which they had previously said were outdated. They will probably go employee-free in both instances and put in scanners and robots. Once every competitor in a particular industry has gone bankrupt, they will then raise the prices to whatever level they want. Since they will be the only game in town, you will pay their price or do without.

If we don't do something to stop this now, we will only have ourselves to blame.


2) Self-Published Authors


This argument I have heard from the folks at Independent Book Publishers Association. I am sure I am not understanding the whole picture, so would my fellow writer please explain it to me? 

I used "The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing" by Sue Collier and Marilyn Ross as my main reference and branched off from there. I saw that there were now many different avenues to getting past the gatekeeper agents and publishers. 

I looked at the subsidy publishers, but to me they were still middle people that I wanted to avoid, but I know other writers who have used them. I know CreateSpace is owned by Amazon, but I don't think Lightening Spark or Hudson Press (I know a writer who had a terrible experience there) or any of the others are.  Also there was the Print On Demand option (which seemed too expensive to me).

Anyway, let's say you used one of the non-Amazon subsidy publishers, why would you have to place your book on the Amazon platform? Couldn't you have a website and look for the readers of your particular kind of book in their specialty groups? The food lovers who read the cooking blogs and the mystery readers in their various clubs online and off. 

 

My point is this, even if Amazon wasn't (a good deal today is not going to be a good deal tomorrow) 

Take a look at this article: http://articles.ibpa-online.org/article/breaking-up-with-amazon/ cheating writers an d publishers, the place is too crowded. If I am selling on Times Square along with the other 5,000 vendors how will I stand out? 

But if I go in search of the people who are especially interested in my handcrafted, wooden toys and set up on a side street, I'll have more success. 

So, assuming you are not using CreateSpace (you could always use another subsidy publisher) why do you need Amazon?

Please tell me what I'm missing?

The only choice left to me was to set up my own version of Hogarth Press (now owned by one of the Big Five traditional publishers), the press set up by Virgina and Leonard Woolf to publish their friends in the Bloomsbury group. Did I want to start another business, a publishing business at that? 

No, but it was the only way I could get past agents and publishers asking me why I was writing a book in my mother's voice (they wanted it in mine) about a black woman who wasn't famous (what she achieved in her life despite obstacles would help other people in her situation) and why did it have all this African American history in it (an African American woman born in 1920 who becomes the first black woman in management at a Fortune 500 company as well as a Harlem activist needs to be shown in a historical context) ?

So yes, fellow writer, I understand about the gatekeepers. I would never knowingly do anything to harm a fellow writer's chances. 

Oh, and I understand that readers will have to be in the front of this fight. If we writers start talking about Amazon, no one will give us the time to talk about our books. This is the fine advice I received from my former publicist. 

I'll wait for your reply, but won't be responding tonight.

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Correction- No Article Found about Amazon Enslavement of British workers in the US

 

I have not been able to find an article to back up this statement, so I retract it. It may have been another predatory monopoly, but even if  true, it is not relevant to this discussion.

 

 

 

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