My boss hates Amazon-shaming. I agree. We try to create a chill atmosphere at Books & Books and the last thing you want is a side-order of guilt with your browsing. If the heavy book buyers break down and buy one or two titles from us a year, we count ourselves lucky and hope it’s enough to keep us chugging along, insisting that typewriters, vinyl, and bicycles have a place in the modern world.
But there’s always room for education, right?
Miami is not hippy-dippy like San Francisco (few places are) but we consistently make the list of Amazon’s top ten “most literate cities”. This means people in Miami are buying a crap-ton of books from Amazon. In pointing out the hypocrisy of Berkley residents’ efforts to create a solid business community while loving on Amazon because it’s so cheap, Pegasus Books’ President Amy Thomas shines a light on an issue that’s central to shopping online – the impact it has on our local community.
You buy from Amazon, we lose tax dollars. In 2014 alone, Amazon avoided paying $625 million in state and local taxes nationwide, and $16.8 million in Florida alone. Florida schools could do a lot with $16.8 million.
You buy from Amazon, you close stores. In 2014, Amazon sold $44.1 billion worth of retail goods nationwide ($2,587.2 million worth of retail goods in Florida). That’s equivalent to 30,000 retail storefronts and 107 million square feet of commercial space (1,818 businesses in Florida covering 6.3 million square feet). That’s a loss of $420 million in property taxes ($38.6 million in Florida), not to mention all the people those businesses could have employed.
Speaking of people, if you buy from Amazon, you put your neighbors out of work. Remember Obama’s Amazon warehouse press conference, where he was all psyched about job creation? Yeah, indie booksellers hated that shit. In 2014, Amazon operated 65 million square feet of distribution space, employing roughly 30,000 full-time workers and 104,000 part-time and seasonal workers. Even counting all the jobs in Amazon distribution centers, Amazon sales produced a net loss of 135,973 retail jobs. Florida’s story is even worse – Amazon employed 5,535 workers in 2.7 million feet of distribution space in 2014, costing 10,306 retail jobs.
Buy cheap now, pay for it later.
Think before you click.