Stop Blaming Amazon
I saw on the news this morning that Amazon was preparing to employ an additional 10,000 people. Good news if you ask me. I then pushed the information to the side and went about my day. However, the issue was brought to my attention once again when a few hours later I was scrolling through my FB feed and saw someone complaining about it, even saying President Obama should be ashamed of himself for praising Amazon for adding jobs. Apparently this person feels that Amazon is a horrible entity who has only stripped the country of jobs by closing small brick and mortar bookstores across the land. I laughed and laughed at the notion that someone–one of many, I know–could think that one company could single-handedly shut down bookstores across the country. It’s hysterical!
Except it’s not.
It’s actually rather sad that there are people who think this is true. There are people who walk among us that actually believe that not only is Amazon responsible for the closing of Barnes & Noble stores and numerous other bookstores, but that they continue to cause jobs to disappear. The person whose post I read today had several comments on the post by others who blamed online stores for the decline of our economy.
By this point, I’m shaking my head and rolling my eyes. Hard.
It’s always been true in business–ANY business–that the bar is always to be raised, products always improved upon, and the competition has to either adapt or die. Plain. Simple. True. You can’t say it’s unfair that Amazon has done what they have, which is make shopping more convenient for its customers and make a wider variety of products more easily accessible. You can’t say that it’s because of them and the Kindle that bookstores have gone under. Just like people, the economy changes. What’s in high demand one day isn’t the next. That’s just business. Anyone who’s ever worked in any type of retail or sales position knows this. Remember the fanny pack? Remember how everybody had one? And now look. Everyone makes fun of them (except the three people who still have fanny packs). The same goes for acid-wash jeans, high-top tennis shoes, tie-dyed shirts, PT Cruisers, Zunes, Bedazzlers…the list goes on and on.
The fact is ereaders are the way of the future, and the future is now. People don’t hate dead tree books, it’s just that ereaders are so much more convenient. You literally hold thousands of books in the palm of your hand, books that you paid for in an instant without ever leaving your home or digging money out of your pocket. Not to mention the environmental impact: all those books are digital, meaning no trees were harmed in the making of these books.
Digital books are what the people want. As a business, if you want to succeed, you give the people what they want. If the brick and mortar stores would’ve listened and kept up, they might still be there. But they didn’t adapt, so they died. You can’t blame Amazon for their demise. Is it the computer’s fault that the typewriter fell by the wayside? Is it the car’s fault that the horse carriage is no more? Is it the TV‘s fault that radio isn’t as popular as it once was? Can we blame the gun for the downfall of the bow and arrow?
At some point, you have to stop blaming Amazon for the loss of jobs. Not only does the company employ dozens of thousands of people, but think about all the authors who now make money because of them. Authors who would’ve never been making money otherwise are now making a living from their work. All because of Amazon. So while you’re crunching the numbers there on job losses to job gains, factor that in.
And you certainly can’t blame all online shopping for the decline of the economy. I mean come on. People can buy anything they want from the comfort of their own home. They can compare prices and products without having to traverse the countryside and deal with traffic and other shoppers and pushy salesman. They can read reviews and make educated choices. It’s absolutely brilliant. This is what the people want. Convenience. Choices. Knowledge. You want people to come to your physical store? Then you better be competitive. Step up your game. They’ll come if it’s worth their while. That’s just Business 101.