Recently, The Daily Show highlighted the company's efforts to avoid taxes:
Gawker also points to the corporation's holiday plan: paying customers to not buy from their local stores (though Melville House points out that this is indication that Amazon does need local stores)
Apparently concerned that it's not already doing enough to undermine local physical retailers across the country, Amazon.com announced it will pay customers $5 to go into a local store, scan an item, walk out, and buy the same item on Amazon. Please don't do this cheap, sad thing.As the #OWS protests continue, can independent use the momentum to fight back against Amazon? Occupy Amazon?
To get the $5 discount, you're supposed to use Amazon's "Price Check" iPhone and Android app to scan in the bar code of an item and then indicate what price the item is being sold at. This gives Amazon valuable intelligence on how various retailers are pricing various items. "We scour online and in-store advertisements from other retailers, every day, year-round," an Amazon director said on All Things D. But now Amazon won't have to work so hard in the future, since hordes of consumers will (theoretically) sell out the merchants who pump sales taxes into their localities with sales taxes, all to save a measly five bones.
The idea is not as far-fetch. Michael Moore was approached about it as far back as October. The proposal? If booksellers "sold his new book, Here Comes Trouble (Grand Central), at their cost (bringing the consumer price closer to the discount Amazon can offer), would the celebrity pro-indie author not sell his books on Amazon?"
Moore didn't answer but agree that things needed to be done. He mentioned, for example, that Lady Gaga's new book was printed in a unionized factory: "How old is this woman?...And she was smarter than me? I have so much hope with these kids that we raised."
While "Occupy Amazon" might be a misnomer (we surely don't want readers to occupy Amazon, instead of their local bookstore), the trick here is to get books out of Amazon, into indie bookstores, into readers' hands.
When asked if Melville House would pull its titles from Amazon, editor Dennis Johnson said: "Zing! Nah, as far as I'm concerned anyone can sell our books. It's our only chance to enlighten people like you!"
On the one hand, Amazon is a great way to get the word out about your books. Yet, Amazon kills businesses and local community and does everything to do so.
Can #OWSers offer advice/guidance to revive local book economies?