"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Amazon, for $5

“The law has long been clear that stores do not invite the public in for all purposes. A retailer is not expected to serve as a warming station for the homeless or a site for band practice. So it’s worth wondering whether it’s lawful for Amazon to encourage people to enter a store for the purpose of gathering pricing information for Amazon and buying from the Internet giant, rather than the retailer. Lawful or not, it’s an example of Amazon’s bare-knuckles approach.” Scott Turow's reply to Richard Russo. Amazon's Jungle Logic.

By now, everyone has probably heard of Amazon's "promotion" in which we are encouraged to shop in a physical store but then buy the item from Amazon and receive a $5 discount. It seems most people feel that this is not only fighting dirty, but it's an example of the 800-lb gorilla fighting dirty. The authors Russo asked agree, calling it, "scorched-earth capitalism" (Dennis Lehane) and "invasive and unfair" (Stephen King).

Writer and bookstore owner Ann Patchett said, "There is no point in fighting them or explaining to them that we should be able to coexist civilly in the marketplace. I don’t think they care. I do think it’s worthwhile explaining to customers that the lowest price point does not always represent the best deal. If you like going to a bookstore then it’s up to you to support it."

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