University Book Store warns of sales impact from Amazon Books

University Book Store manager Pam Cady is quoted extensively in a piece by Julia Carrie Wong in the Guardian today. Cady says Amazon's brick-and-mortar store is having a serious effect on U Book Store's sales:

“Everyone’s had to adjust to Amazon online,” she says, “but having a store just down the street is a little different. We’re at ground zero. We’re in the blast.” University Book Store is less than a mile away from Amazon Books.

Cady wouldn’t provide specific numbers on how Amazon Books has affected University Book Store’s sales, but she says that she’s definitely noticed “different spending patterns”.

“It scares me what could happen not just to us, but to everyone,” Cady said.

A hopeful side of me believes that this rush to Amazon Books is a fad, a novelty. A slightly more cynical side of me believes that the customers you'd find in Amazon Books are not the same customers you'd find at one of Seattle's many independent bookstores.

But if you do visit Amazon Books to check out how an algorithmically obsessed bookstore works, the Seattle Review of Books would like to gently remind you to reverse-showroom the hell out of the store: browse at Amazon Books all you want, but please buy the books from an independent bookstore. Our local bookstores bring authors to town for free readings; they carry a stock many multiples larger than what is carried at Amazon Books; and they encourage a broader, more exciting browsing experience bolstered by tons of recommendations from the humans who work there. We believe this is something of value, something that should be supported.