Obama And The Booksellers

Thursday, August 1, 2013 - by Phil Wade

Last week, Overstock.com lowered its prices on books also sold by Amazon.com, boasting discounts 10% lower than Amazon on over 350,000 titles,reports Shelf Awareness.com. Apparently in response,  Amazon lowered it's prices to 50-60 percent off retail on bestsellers, a move offline booksellers are calling a new low in Amazon's price war with them.

Adding fuel to this long-burning fire, President Obama spoke at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bonny Oaks this week, promoting his ideas for job growth and "a better bargain for the middle class.”

“That's why I'm visiting cities and towns like this,” Mr.

Obama said, “to lay out my ideas for how we can build on the cornerstone of what it means to be middle class in America: a good job with good wages, a good education, a home to call your own, affordable health care that's there for you when you get sick, a secure retirement even if you're not rich, more chances for folks to earn their way into the middle class as long as they're willing to work for it.”

Making such a speech at Amazon didn’t encourage some booksellers, who have supported the president in other ways. American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher wrote an open letter criticizing Mr. Obama’s venue.  “The simple fact is that Amazon’s practices are detrimental to the nation’s economy,” he said. Teicher wrote the letter along with the ALA board of directors.“As (Mr. Obama has) noted so often, small businesses are the engines of the economy,” he wrote. “When a small business fails and closes its doors, this has a ripple effect at both a local and a national level.” Jobs added at large corporations like Amazon, they said, are often part-time and not equivalent to the jobs lost at small businesses.

How do local bookstore owners feel about Amazon’s competition? Most booksellers in our area, like the popular McKay Used Books and CDs, selling after-market products. Stores like Lifeway and Barnes & Noble, both at Hamilton Place, are part of large corporations able to compete at a more direct level than an independent store could.

Paul Mann, owner of The Book Gallery, doesn’t see direct competition from Amazon either. Being an overstock resellers, his stores sell a variety of hardbacks for $3.99 and paperbacks for $2.99, prices much cheaper than Amazon.

“One of the biggest issues,” Mr. Mann said, “is the 9.25% sales tax. That’s an ongoing competitive disadvantage for us. If I don’t pay my sale taxes, they come and shutter my store.” Mann owns stores in Dalton, Cleveland, and Lebanon.

Charles Wood of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce said with our city being on the state line, “you can drive into Georgia to pay less in sales tax.” So the success of online booksellers like Amazon may be “a matter of convenience” for shoppers.

 

(Phil Wade is a local writer and native Chattanoogan. Find him on Twitter:@Brandywinebooks or at Brandywinebooks.net)


New Hamilton County Business Licenses

L&E Attorney Ashby M. Angell Joins Baker Donelson

Cody Sims: 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Naming Beneficiaries


Here are the new business licenses from the County Clerk's office: 36 NAILS, INC. HIEP NGUYEN 7000 LEE HWY STE 800 CHATTANOOGA TN 37421 A&D REMODELING LLC DIEGO VELIZ ALVARADO 11314 ... (click for more)

Ashby M. Angell, a labor and employment lawyer who assists clients with a range of issues including discrimination, sexual harassment and non-compete agreements, has joined Baker Donelson as ... (click for more)

If you’ve ever spent time working through your estate plan, you know how important it is to select and update your beneficiaries. Failing to do so can result in costly mistakes – for you and ... (click for more)



Business

New Hamilton County Business Licenses

Here are the new business licenses from the County Clerk's office: 36 NAILS, INC. HIEP NGUYEN 7000 LEE HWY STE 800 CHATTANOOGA TN 37421 A&D REMODELING LLC DIEGO VELIZ ALVARADO 11314 OOLTEWAH GEORGETOWN RD GEORGETOWN TN 37336 ABIGAIL LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY ABIGAIL L BOEGER 563 E 18TH ST CHATTANOOGA TN 37408 ALL AMERICAN ARMS LLC DAVID W BRAND 409 FOREST GLEN DR CHATTANOOGA ... (click for more)

L&E Attorney Ashby M. Angell Joins Baker Donelson

Ashby M. Angell, a labor and employment lawyer who assists clients with a range of issues including discrimination, sexual harassment and non-compete agreements, has joined Baker Donelson as of counsel in the Firm's Chattanooga office. Ms. Angell focuses exclusively on labor and employment law across various industries including manufacturing, health care and media. She represents ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Coppinger Says Over $1 Billion In Development, Including $70 Million New Lookouts Stadium, To Be Announced At U.S. Pipe/Wheland Site

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said Wednesday that over $1 billion in development, including a new Chattanooga Lookouts stadium, will be announced on Thursday morning at the U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site. He said the development includes 120 acres and about nine acres will be for the $70 million stadium, which he said will not be just for the Lookouts but for community use. He ... (click for more)

County Commission Approves $1 Million Toward Getting Officers In Every County School

The County Commission on Wednesday voted to spend $1 million toward providing officers in every Hamilton County public school. The appropriation will go along with $950,000 approved recently by the School Board toward the school safety goal. Currently there are 32 School Resource Officers approved with 28 now hired. Sheriff Jim Hammond said four SROs "are in the pipeline" ... (click for more)

Opinion

Soddy Daisy: Home To Bad Food, Worse Roads, And No Gasoline - And Response

I enjoy Soddy Daisy. Truly I do. But over the past six years or so, everything in the town has been going downhill, and quite fast. There is simply no place to eat in Soddy Daisy that offers any nutritional value or variety. Burger King, McDonald's, Sonic, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Bojangles. This is what we have to feed our children. Now a couple people may say what about ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Yes, Coach Can Pray

In 2015 Joe Kennedy, a career Marine, was told by a “woke” crowd of educators that he could no longer be an assistant high school football coach in Seattle, Washington. The problem was that he publicly knelt and prayed on the field’s 50-yard line after every game and there were some school administrators that felt he was an undue influence on non-religious students. On Monday ... (click for more)