Long title, I know, but each word is necessary. This is my first ever post on here that isn’t essentially a book review, but I need to say this.
Amazon has broken the sale embargo on The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale and one of the most hugely anticipated books in recent memory. If you don’t know what a sale embargo is, and I only do because I worked at a bookstore for two years. it is an official restriction on selling a particular book until it’s official release date. Penguin Random House and Hachette are the two publishers that put embargoes on all of their new releases, the rest of the publishers reserve them for their most anticipated releases. The Testaments is published by Penguin Random House, but it would have been embargoed no matter who published it. And Amazon knows this, and in spite of that they have already been sending out copies of the book a week in advance.
Any independent bookstore worth your love and respect respects embargoes. It is a way of levelling the playing field for all bookstores, and, again, any bookstore that is worth your love and respect is trying to help all independent bookstores survive. Amazon does none of this. The way in which Amazon sells books – cutting prices and taking a loss specifically to get you to buy from them and abandon bookstores, opening up trashy boutique bookstores, breaking embargoes, etc. etc. – is designed to run independent bookstores out of business. If you went into a bookstore every day for an entire week it wouldn’t take more than a day or two for you to overhear a customer asking a bookseller why they are selling a book for so much more than it is on Amazon (i.e., selling it for it’s listed price on the book itself) and complaining that having to wait two to three days for a book is unnecessary when they could get it from Amazon the next day. And the way these customers say these things clearly show that they think the store itself is at fault for realities out of the store’s control, and that them buying the book from Amazon is a just punishment for the store’s negligence.
Amazon is making us ungrateful shitheads. We need what we want NOW not LATER. Waiting is a compromise, and this is the 21st century where compromises are faults in reality to be conquered. Let’s just conveniently ignore that our rampant commercialism and needing everything we want immediately is destroying our planet, running independent businesses out of business, and killing service workers such as the delivery drivers that are forced to follow the impossible deadlines in order to get you your themed dildos and pumpkin spice face cream in time for your required next-day delivery.
I wish I could say I was a total Amazon boycotter like multiple of my former bookstore co-workers, but I’m not. I have Prime, I watch their shows and movies and utilize Prime to buy amenities that I probably wouldn’t ever take the time to show for at a store. And I’ve bought books. After beginning to work at Books Inc. in San Francisco I mostly limited myself to buying books from third-party sellers. But of course Amazon’s third-party practices are as godawful as the rest of the company.
So now, after years of complacency and indulgence in lazy convenience, I will finally put my money where my mouth is in an admittedly rather limited capacity, and maybe this will lead to future strength of mind. I hereby vow to never buy a book from Amazon again. I have prompted my friends and will now prompt you as well: if you see or (more likely for you) hear of me purchasing books from Amazon I urge you to terrorize me into buying a plane or bus ticket so you can come to where I live and punch me in the face.
One more time: fuck Amazon.