In the wake of price wars among online megastores plus the President’s jobs speech at an Amazon warehouse and the American Booksellers Association’s letter about it, we thought we’d share the thoughtful email that the owners of Village Books in Bellingham sent to customers.
We’re so grateful to all of you for the outpouring of support since the reports of Amazon’s predatory pricing onslaught. We’ve received dozens of encouraging notes, quite a number of you have sworn off buying from predators, some have written directly to Amazon, and several of you have mentioned the issue as the reason you were consciously making purchases here. Thank you.
The issue grew a bit more widely known last week when President Obama chose an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee as the venue for a speech on job creation. Critics have rightly pointed out that local retailers, including independent booksellers like Village Books, have been far more successful in creating sustainable jobs than the massive online discounter. Some of you even told us that you have written the White House, protesting the President’s choice of speaking venue.
A number of you have asked, “What can I do?” There are a couple of things. First, you can spread the word widely about the importance of shopping locally. Here are ten good reasons to pass on to your friends:
1. Buy Local — Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.
2. Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust
4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
5. Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community provide the most jobs to residents.
6. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
8. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
9. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
10. Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
And, you can also take the One Book Pledge by clicking here.
To be clear, we have no problem with Amazon, or anyone else, selling printed books, eBooks, or even refrigerators. What we object to is the predatory pricing that is fully intended to put other retailers out of business and establish one company as a monopoly. Monopolies have never proven to be in the best interest of the public.
Thanks again for your support,
Chuck & Dee and the entire team at Village Books and Paper Dreams