Booksellers furious that Obama is giving jobs speech from Amazon warehouse

Obama

Obama is giving a jobs speech Tuesday at Amazon’s 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.

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