There was a time, not too long ago, that every town and city had at least one bookstore to call their own. But that time has long since passed, thanks to the Amazons and Barnes and Nobles of the world.
Below are the reasons to shop at an independent bookstore.
You support the community, in addition to the specific store. The rate of success for small businesses (pre-Covid-19) are disheartening at best. Within ten years of opening, 70% of them will close. These days, who knows how many will be able to keep their doors open?
It is an opportunity to get out of the house. As much as I appreciate the convenience of ordering online, there is no joy in that. Over the last few years, I have gotten together with friends for several bookstore crawls. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day than books, friends, and a good walk.
Many of these stores highlight local authors and stories that add flavors to the story of the area.
There are more than books to be found within their walls. Some stores have opened small cafes, others host events and classes.
They are gathering places. Not just for the purpose of the product that will be purchased, but for the opportunity to meet and connect with other bibliophiles.
Amazon, whether we like it or not, is a retail behemoth that is on track to take over the world.
Over the weekend, Amazon removed Christmas ornaments and bottle openers with images of Auschwitz from their website.
Whose bright idea was this to create and sell? More importantly, where was Amazon in reviewing the products? The company claims to have standards, but the standards seem important only after all of the negative publicity. Not before, when they could have at least given the products a once over before allowing the seller onto their site.
I don’t know what is scarier, that the products exist or that Amazon allowed them on their website in the first place? The Holocaust is not just any historical event and Auschwitz is not just any place. A little respect, especially given the historical circumstances, goes a long way.
This time of year is about family and tradition. It is not about who can buy the most presents or decorate their house so it can be seen from space. As I see it, these products and Amazon’s inability to stop them from being sold in the first place is a symbol of the wrong reasons to celebrate the holiday season.
After a lot of hype, criticism and politics, Amazon decided that it would not build its new headquarters in New York City.
To be honest, I am disappointed. While I understand the reasons why some people did not want Amazon to build the new headquarters in Long Island City, I feel like the benefits outweighed the risks.
I also feel like part of the blame falls on Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo. Neither was completely open with the public as to the application process and the benefits that Amazon would have received, had they actually proceeded with agreed upon plan. It was just a little too “political backroom deal” for my liking.
But what is done, is done. Amazon has made their decision. There are many, many other businesses that contribute to the financial health of the city and her residents. I just can’t help but wonder what Amazon might have brought to this city, had things been different.
After months of speculation, Amazon finally announced the locations of their upcoming headquarters: Northern Virginia and Long Island City.
For those who are unaware, Long Island City is just across the river from Manhattan. What was once solely an industrial area is being rebuilt into a neighborhood that contains both residence buildings and buildings used for commerce.
Amazon has promised to invest $5 billion dollars into the sites and create 50,000 jobs in the process for both locations.
From a business standpoint, the choice of location makes perfect sense. It’s location allows for an easy commute from Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. Amazon will join a long list of businesses who have relocated their offices to New York City and have helped the city to grow. Revenue from tax dollars and the salaries of the future employees will add to the city coffers. Anytime good jobs with a reasonable living wages are created, it can only help the employee and their city.
But, with the promises that Amazon is making, there are caveats. The first caveat is that the city has ensure that housing prices in and around Long Island City do not skyrocket higher than they already have, forcing some residents with more limited incomes to move elsewhere. The second caveat has to do with public transportation. Anyone who has ever rode a bus or train in New York City knows that it is not always smooth sailing. When the headquarters are open for business, there must be enough trains to ensure that everyone gets to where they need to go without too much of a headache.
While Amazon’s promises sound great on paper, they are simply on paper at this point. We will know in a year so if the promises turn into reality.