Chicago Tonight, WTTW PBS – December 8, 2016
by Reuben Unrau
In August, online retail giant Amazon announced a brick-and-mortar bookstore would be opening in Lakeview in 2017.
The news was met with criticism by local booksellers, including the Great Lakes Independent Bookselling Association, which released a joint statement with 16 Chicago bookstores stressing their pride in “using books to create a conversation with customers and their communities.”
By comparison, “Amazon’s initial choice to sell books was largely for the purpose of collecting customer data,” the statement reads.
A new report released last week by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, an advocacy group that supports community business strategies, details Amazon’s effect on local economies.
Specifically, it is critical of the company’s business practices and increasing control of the retail market. The 79-page analysis argues that Amazon has monopolized retail to the extent that it has undermined local competition, jobs and wages. According to the report, Amazon has squeezed out small businesses and eliminated about 149,000 more jobs in retail than it has created in its warehouses.
In response to the report, local booksellers decided to take action.