Amazon Might Doom Itself With Own Success

Evan Hughes: Killing traditional bookstores will harm company in long run

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 19, 2013 1:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – Amazon seems unstoppable right about now, thanks in part to court decisions like this one. On top of that, Barnes & Noble is reeling, as are brick-and-mortar bookstores in general. But Amazon better hold the celebration, because if it puts traditional bookstores out of business, it's only going to hurt itself, writes Evan Hughes at Salon. The reason can be found in two telling stats: About 60% of book sales now take place online, but only about 17% of buyers first find out about their books online. That is, people are showrooming in bookstores, too—browsing physical aisles to find something they like, then going to Amazon to get it cheaper.

If the trend continues, Amazon is going to be in trouble, argues Hughes, because the company needs bookstores to help it sell books. "Of course consumers want to pay less, but it’s probably healthier for readers in the long run if Amazon stops making prices so low that publishers and bookstores are endangered," he writes. Instead of discounting a book 35%, why not 10% instead? That gives brick-and-mortar stores a shot at survival, and "that would be better for everyone." Click for Hughes' full post.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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