National Catholic Register


Amazon Might Not Be Such a Bad Guy After All

BY Sarah Reinhard

| Posted 10/27/13 at 9:37 AM

Amazon might not be a Big Bad Wolf after all. According to Quartz, Amazon’s domination of book-selling isn’t necessarily knocking small bookstores on their backsides. In fact, it’s the big guys who are feeling the crunch.

Remember Borders? They've been out of business for over two years. And Barnes & Noble, despite being my favorite shopping destination, had dismal financial results for their fiscal year ending in April.

Indie bookstores--those local gems owned and operated by the people down the street--have actually be increasing. There are MORE independent bookstores now than there were in 2009.

According to Quartz:

There is very little difference between big, impersonal chain stores selling books and a big, impersonal website selling books. Independent retailers, on the other hand, have a lot to offer that Amazon cannot: niche coffee, atmosphere, serendipitous discoverability of new titles and authors, recommendations from knowledgable staff, signings and events, to name a few.

This gives me great hope, in part because I'm guilty of buying Catholic books from Amazon, despite the fact that there's a Catholic bookstore in our area (more than one, in fact). What that local bookstore offers me, though is far different from what I find on Amazon. In addition to being able to get high on the actual smell and feel of actual books, I can also check out other religious articles, talk to people I've known for years, and get ideas I wouldn't have had otherwise.

There's something to be said for Amazon. But there's something to be said for the little guy too. Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so.