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Booksellers furious that Obama is giving jobs speech from Amazon warehouse

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Obama is giving a jobs speech Tuesday at Amazon’s(s amzn) warehouse in Chattanooga, Tenn. — infuriating booksellers and publishers, who see this as evidence that the Obama administration is in the tank for Amazon (especially following the Department of Justice’s win over Apple in the ebook pricing case).

“No American monopoly has ever been so cozy with the government,” Dennis Johnson, the founder of independent publisher Melville House, wrote on his company’s blog.

Book trade publication Shelf Awareness cites angry letters from the publishing industry. In one, sales rep Bruce Joshua Miller cites Amazon’s alleged mistreatment of workers at a Pennsylvania warehouse with no air conditioning and writes, “This visit comes at a time when Amazon, despite losing money in the most recent quarter, is attempting to further damage brick-and-mortar stores by lowering discounts to unprecedented levels.”

Publishers Lunch sensibly points out (paywall) that “Obama has also visited independent bookstores the last two Small Business Saturdays, and for years has been photographed on multiple shopping trips to local bookstores.”

White House deputy press secretary Amy Brundge explained Obama’s visit to the Chattanooga Free Times Press: “The Amazon facility in Chattanooga is a perfect example of the company that is investing in American workers and creating good, high-wage jobs. What the president wants to do is to highlight Amazon and the Chattanooga facility as an example of a company that is spurring job growth and keeping our country competitive.”

Amazon announced Monday that it’s hiring over 5,000 full-time workers at its U.S. warehouses. In total, those warehouses employ over 20,000 people full-time, and the company said in its most recent earnings report that hiring was up 40 percent year on year, to a total of 97,000 full- and part-time employees internationally as of June 30.

16 Responses to “Booksellers furious that Obama is giving jobs speech from Amazon warehouse”

  1. Charles Wire

    It’s sad that so many employees in the publishing and bookselling industries suffer from ADS (Amazon Derangement Syndrome) and cannot understand that when disruption occurs in any business model, things change. Price competition is the cornerstone of capitalism, and when any business relies on nothing changing, it’s doomed.

  2. “Median pay inside Amazon fulfillment centers is 30 percent higher than that of people who work in traditional retail stores – and that doesn’t even include the stock grants that full-time employees receive, which over the past five years have added an average of 9% to base pay annually.” – Amazon.

    People who work in trad retail stores are paid minimum wage with little chance of being promoted. But I still would not work for Amazon. It treats its suppliers of content like crap and heavily discounts items below cost. Those of you calling book stores dinosaurs are the dinosaurs. People are going back to book stores instead of buying from Amazon because it has already tarnished its own reputation.

    • William

      “People are going back to book stores instead of buying from Amazon because it has already tarnished its own reputation.”

      Amazon’s revenue increased 22% from last year. Which book stores are you talking about, exactly?

  3. Amazon is an example of how the private sector gets hurt by cronysim. Most of the warehouses Amazon is building is being done via tax breaks and outright grants from local taxpayers. Meanwhile, some little guy can’t compete because he is doing it with his own money or not allowed to bypass the red tape. Now Amazon is pushing for online sales taxes so the little guy won’t be able to compete online.

    I have no problem with Amazon if the system is fair and they take their own risks. But they are only a giant because of government coddling and stock investors who don’t care about p/e values.

  4. Alcinoo Giandinoto

    the problem with Amazon is that its using its muscle to create unfair competitive advantage across the board. willing to take losses in order to secure a monopoly with which it will start to dictate prices. It funnels money in one direction, destroying small businesses that afford a quality of life a warehouse simply cannot give.

  5. Where is all of the outrage for Google? The company that has single-handedly aggregated and then used the world’s ad dollars to dis-intermediate dozens of industries (publishing, news, media, software, telecom, and more) and destroyed (mostly) American jobs in the process.

  6. I thought Amazon was one of those multinational companies who paid very little tax in the countries they operate in and keep profits offshore to avoid paying US taxes. Doesn’t strike me as a laudable example of American business. Still, when you’ve got a President who can eloquently argue all four sides of a two-sided coin and a fawing media who are happy to run his words but never question him on his actual achievements what can you expect. A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds. He’s an eloquent empty suit.

  7. Eugene

    Amazon has destroyed so many jobs over the past decades due to the ability to get away with not collecting sales taxes and manipulating local governments. It is a primary reason good paying jobs across the country have been destroyed.

  8. Obarry

    Obammy is a president for the 1% so why would you expect anything else. From the AP the other day:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.