Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-10-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Amazon store coming to Chicago, independent booksellers respond
From a press release
2016-08-31

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


CHICAGO — August 31, 2016 - In response to news that Amazon will open a brick-and-mortar store in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago next year, the independent bookstores of Chicago and the Chicago area unite to issue the following joint statement.

The Amazon announcement represents an opportunity to expand the conversations indie booksellers have been having for years with customers about sustainable publishing, bookselling, and retailing, as well as sustainable communities. Sarah Hollenbeck, co-owner of Women & Children First in Andersonville, explains that "Chicago's independent bookstore community works hard to bring authors to Chicago, as well as to highlight local authors and work with local businesses. Events held in our stores strengthen community bonds, as well as provide safe spaces where people can meet, share ideas, and debate issues."

Whereas Amazon's initial choice to sell books was largely for the purpose of collecting customer data, independent bookstores pride themselves on serving customers who read voraciously and eclectically and on using books to create a conversation with customers and their communities. Booksellers get to know their customers so that they are able to make personal recommendations that enrich and sometimes change people's lives. In addition, independent bookstores collect—and have always collected—full sales taxes as required by law, thereby supporting schools, fire and police departments, and state and local governments generally. Amazon has also begun collecting and paying sales taxes, after being forced to by lawsuits and negative public opinion.

Industry experts speculate that the purpose of brick-and-mortar Amazon stores is to continue to collect information that would aid Amazon in future non-book sales endeavors. To Chicago's independent bookstores, customers are not just instruments for data collection to enable future sales; rather, customer support is the lifeblood that helps sustain both the stores and the vital communities those stores create.

Booksellers also cite the recent study "Amazon and Empty Storefronts," a report issued in January 2016 that quantified, for the first time, how billions of dollars' worth of Amazon sales are rapidly imperiling the future of brick-and-mortar downtowns and viable shopping districts, along with the property taxes, employment opportunities, social engagement, and the sense of "place" that small businesses provide in their communities.

Co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association and the research firm Civic Economics, the report was designed to provide policymakers and consumers with a better understanding of the effect at the state and local levels of the growth of online retail as a substitute for storefront purchases. At the national level, its findings are staggering:

- In 2014, Amazon sold $44.1 billion worth of retail goods nationwide, all while avoiding $625 million in state and local sales taxes.

- That is the equivalent of 31,000 retail storefronts, 107 million square feet of commercial space, which might have paid $420 million in property taxes.

- A total of more than $1 billion in revenue lost to state and local governments, $8.48 for every household in America.

- Amazon also 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.

According to an earlier Civic Economics study called "Local Works!", dollars spent in locally owned businesses continue to circulate locally and enrich that community. For every $100 spent in a locally owned business, $68 stays in that community; but for every $100 spent in non-local businesses, only $43 stays in the community. Over a period of years, that $25 difference can mean millions of dollars siphoned away from local communities to corporate headquarters.

Amazon is known for its low prices and convenience. However, as booksellers at Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston point out, "What's largely invisible is the price we're really paying for that kind of convenience, if we ignore the likely consequences of Amazon's snowballing monopolistic practices." In Illinois alone, the numbers are shocking. The study estimates that in 2014, Amazon sold more than $1.8 billion worth of retail goods in Illinois. That is the equivalent of 1,289 retail storefronts, 4.5 million square feet of commercial space, which might have paid $23.6 million in property taxes and more than $59.8 million in revenue lost to state and local governments. Even counting all the jobs in Amazon distribution centers, Civic Economics finds that Amazon sales produced a net loss of 7,802 retail jobs in Illinois.

The list of Chicago and Chicago-area stores, as well as our regional booksellers' association, endorsing this statement, along with their individual comments and contact information for follow-up, follow:

57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th St., Chicago

Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc., 824 W. Superior St., Ste. 100, Chicago

Anderson's Book Shop, Naperville, Downers Grove, and La Grange

The Book Cellar, 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, 811 Elm St., Winnetka

The Book Table, 1045 Lake Street, Oak Park

Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Rear 1, Evanston

City Lit Books, 2523 N. Kedzie Blvd., Chicago

Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, 2113 Roosevelt, Ypsilanti, MI

Lake Forest Bookstore, 662 N. Western Ave., Lake Forest

RoscoeBooks, 2142 W. Roscoe St., Chicago

Sandmeyer's Bookstore, 714 S. Dearborn St., Chicago

Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago

Unabridged Books, 3251 N. Broadway, Chicago

Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. / 826CHI, 1276 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St., Chicago

Anderson's of Naperville, Downers Grove, and La Grange: "Independent bookshops all over Chicagoland and the country are deeply rooted in their communities, building relationships and creating lifelong readers. We know what our towns and cities want to read, and we do this face to face and by reading books we know will engage our friends and neighbors—we don't use algorithms and formulas to tell someone what they should read. Chicagoland indie bookstores have collected sales tax for decades and property taxes are paid for the buildings we have occupied for many years. Amazon has avoided paying these for years. Chicagoland independent stores give back in countless ways to local organizations, not-for-profits, and schools. Amazon does not. We are the heart and soul of our neighborhoods because we are a place of ideas, a place to meet the authors behind the books, and most of all a place to converse with like-minded people about the books we love. We are the brick and mortar of our communities. No Amazon store can do that." Contact: Becky Anderson, becky@andersonsbookshop.net, 630-768-5725

Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston: "There's a kind of retail 'climate change' going on right now that's not obvious to most consumers, who focus on Amazon's convenience and price-slashing," the booksellers said. "What's largely invisible is the price we're really paying for that kind of convenience, if we ignore the likely consequences of Amazon's snowballing monopolistic practices." Contact: Nina Barrett, nina@bookendsandbeginnings.com, 224-999-7722

City Lit, Chicago: "City Lit has developed a strong, local community in four years. People are coming together here around book clubs, author events, story times, and great spontaneous discussions about obscure books. The independent bookstore will survive because people are looking for such opportunities that cannot be found in a business based on algorithms." Contact: Teresa Kirschbraun, teresa@citylitbooks.com, 773-235-2523

Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, Ypsilanti, Mich.: "Booksellers in Chicagoland are more than just merchants. Their stores provide a "Third Place"—somewhere that isn't home and isn't work, but rather a place where we can just be ourselves—a place for the exchange of ideas; a place where the customer isn't part of a logarithm but is instead a friend and neighbor; a place where the selection is tailored to those customers and friends. If you are looking for a place where you are more than just a data point, check out one ( or many ) of the stores listed here. They will be glad to see you!" Contact: Deb Leonard, deb@gliba.org, 734-340-6397

RoscoeBooks, Roscoe Village: "Though we are disappointed on many levels to hear that Amazon is opening a brick-and-mortar store in our area, we will continue to strive to build connection and better our community through our love of books. We love being a part of this community and appreciate every single one of our customers as friends and fellow booklovers." Contact: Erika VanDam, roscoebooks@gmail.com, 773-857-2676

Women & Children First, Andersonville: "This time it feels personal. Just when indie bookstores are regaining the business they'd lost to two predatory national chains oversaturating the market, when sales are up for the first time in 10 years, along comes Amazon to take another bite out of our business. I choose to think of this as the ultimate compliment, though—that a profit-driven corporation like Amazon is trying to copy our business model. I know they can't copy our commitment to community building, sustainable local economies, social activism, and free speech and the free exchange of ideas, so I'm confident we'll come out even stronger in the end." Contact: Lynn Mooney, co-owner, wcflynn@gmail.com, 773-575-3365 or 773-769-9299


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW 'You're in the Wrong Bathroom!' And 20 Other Myths... 2017-10-17 - By Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD and Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R $16; Beacon Press; 182 pages In 2017, a book about ...


Gay News

BOOKS New collection shows spectrum of LGBTQ talent 2017-10-17 - When Kathleen Archambeau started planning out the collection of profiles that would become Pride and Joy: LGBTQ Artists, Icons, and Everyday Heroes, she ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL Happy hours 2017-10-11 - One day, out of the blue, I received an email from well-respected writer Renee Bess. In her thoughtful, elegant style, she asked if ...


Gay News

Sandberg Awards Oct. 11 at The Forum 2017-10-09 - The Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago Public Library will present the annual Carl Sandburg Literary Awards to best-selling authors Margaret Atwood ( ...


Gay News

Author of trans-focused children's book opens Safe Schools Symposium 2017-10-09 - Giving the morning keynote at Illinois Safe Schools Alliance's inaugural Symposium on Oct. 9, author Alex Gino acknowledged, "2017 is complicated as A.F. ...


Gay News

BOOKS Self-made woman: Talking with Denise Chanterelle Dubois 2017-10-09 - Milwaukee-born transgender actress and businesswoman Denise Chanterelle Dubois has penned a frank and fearless new memoir entitled, Self-Made Woman about her long journey ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN Showcasing images, experiences of people with LGBTQ parents 2017-10-04 - Award-winning photographer Gabriela Herman knew that for her new book, The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA, "the images would ...


Gay News

BOOKS New memoir reveals Armistead Maupin's true tales of the city 2017-10-04 - Armistead Maupin spent four decades creating memorable characters in his Tales of the City novels but it's real-life individuals like Rock Hudson that ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW The Gay Preacher's Wife 2017-10-03 - By Lydia Meredith. $16; Gallery Books; 244 pages The flowers were a very nice touch. They greeted you from ...


Gay News

Kenny Fries and Susan Nussbaum at Access Living Oct. 12 2017-10-03 - Access Living hosts "A Reading by Kenny Fries and Conversation with Susan Nussbaum" Thursday, Oct. 12, 6:30 p.m., 115 W. Chicago Ave. ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.