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Amazon said to be 'increasingly ruthless' in negotiations with UK publishers

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
Hachette is not the only imprint to find itself under Amazon's thumb as the online retailing giant has begun turning the heat up on smaller publishers in the U.K., demanding terms that one publishing executive likened to a "form of assisted suicide for the industry."


An Amazon warehouse, via The Dallas Morning News.


Among the concessions sought by Amazon are the right to print its own versions of popular books if the publisher cannot keep pace with demand as well as a new "most favored nation" clause that would prevent publishers from offering other distribution channels terms -- including new e-book agreements -- that would be unavailable to Amazon itself, according to the BBC.

Publishers are worried that Amazon's digitally-printed volumes, which many believe are of lesser quality than those printed by traditional offset means, would cause confusion for consumers and harm the publishers' reputation. Granting the retailer "most favored nation" status, combined with Amazon's famous willingness to subsidize shipping costs, could essentially remove any incentive for consumers to purchase books from independent booksellers or the publishers themselves.

Seattle, Wash.-based Amazon is seen as both a blessing and a curse by publishers, according to Philip Jones, editor of trade rag The Bookseller.

"The worst thing that could happen [to book publishers] would be for Amazon to go away," he told the BBC. "The second worst thing would be for it to become more dominant."

Perhaps emboldened by its victory by proxy over rival Apple in the U.S., Amazon has been "bullying" U.K. publishers to accept its terms, a representative from one shop told the British broadcaster. At least one other publisher has said that its response would be a "simple and monosyllabic no," though it is unclear to what extent that resolve pervades the industry.

Smaller publishers are likely keeping a close eye on Amazon's negotiations with massive worldwide imprint Hachette, which is locked in an ongoing dispute with Amazon that has seen books from authors including J.K. Rowling and James Patterson pulled from Amazon's virtual shelves. Amazon insists that negotiations over pricing for Hachette's e-books are for the benefit of consumers, but many industry watchers instead believe Amazon is leveraging Apple's loss for a more profitable sales agreement.
post #2 of 81
If it wasn't that sad the verdict against Apple would start looking comical.
post #3 of 81
Good thing the consumer is being protected from Apple.

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post #4 of 81

Yeah, that Agency Pricing model was pure market evil compared to allowing Amazon to maintain Status Quo, wasn't it?

post #5 of 81
But Amazon operates with such a small profit margin that they are allowed to be unethical and have government ordained monopolies¡

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post #6 of 81
Apropos of nothing, I recall seeing a run-of-the-mill hardbound novel in a bookstore, perhaps five or six years ago, which had a nearly thirty dollar sale price.

It was at that point I decided to never buy a physical book again!

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GOA

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post #7 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

But Amazon operates with such a small profit margin that they are allowed to be unethical and have government ordained monopolies¡

Government is good... Repeat after me... Government is good...

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GOA

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post #8 of 81

I dislike Amazon more and more every day.

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post #9 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Apropos of nothing, I recall seeing a run-of-the-mill hardbound novel in a bookstore, perhaps five or six years ago, which had a nearly thirty dollar sale price.

It was at that point I decided to never buy a physical book again!


If the NYT Bestseller List is to be believed, even new release books are selling 5,000 copies in a week. That's a pittance. (honestly, I don't know how it's that low). But it makes it hard to lower the prices through mass production.

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post #10 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post
 
If the NYT Bestseller List is to be believed, even new release books are selling 5,000 copies in a week. That's a pittance. (honestly, I don't know how it's that low). But it makes it hard to lower the prices through mass production.

People don't read anymore.

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post #11 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

But Amazon operates with such a small profit margin that they are allowed to be unethical and have government ordained monopolies¡

Amazon, especially with the introduction of the Fire phone, is slowly but surely killing small business across the country. Consumers will walk into a local store to see, touch & feel the object they are shopping for and then will use their Firefly app to order online.

 

Perfect example is a shoe store.

 

1) Walk in.

2) Get perfectly fitted by a professional

3) Ask to try on "one last pair"

4) Salesman walks into the stock room to retrieve "one last pair" thinking he made a great sale

5) Meanwhile, consumer scans UPC with Firefly, finds much better deals

6) When salesman returns, fake an "emergency" and walk out, only to order on Amazon.

 

It happens multiple times daily in the shoe store across from my shop and it's putting him out of business.

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post #12 of 81
For the most part, yes, government is good. Government paves out streets, maintains our National Parks, mandates labels warning us of he dangers of smoking and seat belts and air bags in cars.

Somethimes it gets things wrong, but also, Apple sort of started this by colluding with all the publishers. That's not legal. That's what anti-trust laws are about. Trouble here is that Apple wasn't the leader and the one to fear, here.

Amazon was paying authors 30%. Apple reversed that to 70%.

But let's not make this an anti-government rant, please.
post #13 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Amazon, especially with the introduction of the Fire phone, is slowly but surely killing small business across the country. Consumers will walk into a local store to see, touch & feel the object they are shopping for and then will use their Firefly app to order online.

Between Amazon and Walmart it's definitely getting more difficult for small businesses to stay in business.

Academic question: Is this sort of change a bad thing? Should we stop progress? Remember when there ere general stores or corner stores where you could buy pretty much anything or when Sears would deliver anything, including pre-fab homes, via the mail that you picked out of a catalog? (Maybe @Dick Applebaum remembers the latter 1smile.gif)

Quote:
Perfect example is a shoe store.

1) Walk in.
2) Get perfectly fitted by a professional
3) Ask to try on "one last pair"
4) Salesman walks into the stock room to retrieve "one last pair" thinking he made a great sale

5) Meanwhile, consumer scans UPC with Firefly, finds much better deals
6) When salesman returns, fake an "emergency" and walk out, only to order on Amazon.

It happens multiple times daily in the shoe store across from my shop and it's putting him out of business.

On the one-hand that's a clever use of the technology. I had only conceived of it for creating a grocery shopping list at home with ease. On the other hand that shoe store is not a charity so it's unethical to take up the employee's time under the guise of being a customer when you have no intention of doing so.

Maybe he should get a cell jammer so they can't check Amazon's prices. 1biggrin.gif
Edited by SolipsismX - 6/27/14 at 7:56am

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post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

For the most part, yes, government is good. , mandates labels warning us of he dangers of smoking and seat belts and air bags in cars.

You really need labels to know that?

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post #15 of 81
LOL. They should call it the Cote-Bromwich Reading Tax.

Bloody fools.
post #16 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Apropos of nothing, I recall seeing a run-of-the-mill hardbound novel in a bookstore, perhaps five or six years ago, which had a nearly thirty dollar sale price.

It was at that point I decided to never buy a physical book again!

You probably don't own any physical artwork either or anything else that has value, instead getting digital copies of everything. Your statement about physical books is sad and a sign of a declining society.

post #17 of 81
Shhh. It's Amazon. They're doing it for the benefit of customers. Honest.

I say the publishers consult with their authors and pull books from Amazon and start selling them elsewhere. It will hurt in the short term but benefit in the long term.
post #18 of 81

I thought Apple was convicted of anti-competitive behavior (pending appeal) because of the most favored nation clause. Isn't this what sealed their fate? Now Amazon is demanding the same thing. What else do they need to do before the DOJ gets off their a** and starts investigating them. Amazon is providing them with so much ammunition I can't believe nothing has happened. They are worse than Microsoft was.

post #19 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Government is good... Repeat after me... Government is good...

As an idea, it's not only great but necessary for a complex society, but there are issues… and I don't see how there won't always be issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

People don't read anymore.

That wasn't true when Steve Jobs and it's not true now. I'd argue that people, especially kids and especially throughout the world, read more now than in any other time in human history. The ability to type on a keyboard is also much more advanced than I was at a given age. I had to take a typewriter course in school. They were electric typewriters but you still had to have those little White Out sheets to fix a mistake. Those were the leading invention at the time since you didn't have to roll the paper up, apply liquid White Out, wait for it to dry and then get it back in the right position without getting the line ever so slightly off, all while trying to remember your thought, which oft meant writing it out by hand with pen and paper first. It was a nightmare!

Now, do they spend as much time reading novels as opposed other forms of casual reading, like this forum? Likely not even close, but they are reading, and I think that's important. I'd also argue that the ability to exchange ideas and interact with others is better training for the brain than simply reading the ideas of someone else in a one-way dialogue.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #20 of 81

I find it amazing that Amazon is at such odds with the Book Publishing world and also the creators of the books they sell. I see nothing in Amazon that reveals a positive view of the future of the industries that it lives off, nor of the world as a sustainable place for creators, workers and consumers alike. Amazon has turned ecommerce into something very ugly. I like convenience and low prices as much as the next guy but what Amazon is practicing is more akin to a scorched earth policy for its own benefit. It is a horrible company.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/25/new-amazon-terms-book-industry-report-concessions

post #21 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Apropos of nothing, I recall seeing a run-of-the-mill hardbound novel in a bookstore, perhaps five or six years ago, which had a nearly thirty dollar sale price.

It was at that point I decided to never buy a physical book again!

OK and if it wasn't from a big hit author, it probably sold somewhere between 5000 and 7500 copies, but let's say it sold 10,000 copies    That's $300,000 gross.   The publisher gets about $150,000.    The author (again assuming it wasn't a famous author) got about $40,000 in royalties and advances.   Let's say it cost $3 per copy to buy the paper, binding and have it printed.     For the remaining $80,000, the publisher had the overhead costs of finding the author/book, supplying an editor and copy editing services, tracking royalties, having a cover designed and marketing and distribution costs.    

 

Trade publishing is not a very profitable business, except when you have a really big hit.   And there aren't that many really big hits per year.   Most trade publishers earn less than 10%.  And only 10% of the cost is in the paper and manufacturing, so most of the costs are still there for e-books, which sell for substantially less.

 

The big money is in classic children's works which sell year after year to generation after generation.

 

That's not to say that I'm willing to pay $30 for a novel either.   I'll usually wait for the trade or mass-market paperback.   But don't think the publishers are making a killing.   And even though there's been consolidation among the big publishers over the years, there are more books from more publishers being published than ever before.     Back in the mid-90's, there was about 1.6 million books that the publishers considered "in-print", but only about 700,000 were really available from either the publisher or the large distributors, like Ingram or Baker & Taylor.   Today, over a million books are published each year in the U.S.

post #22 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Shhh. It's Amazon. They're doing it for the benefit of customers. Honest.

I say the publishers consult with their authors and pull books from Amazon and start selling them elsewhere. It will hurt in the short term but benefit in the long term.

I agree but the DOJ would say this is anti-competitive behavior and go after the publishers again. I've always wondered why the reseller gets to do whatever they want to (as long as it's Amazon) while the publisher and author are held hostage. If the author wants to sell their book for $1000 why should a reseller have the right to drop that price? Would Amazon actually pay this author $1000 and turn around and sell it for $9.99 just to push it's garbage products?

 

The problem with people today is they treat everything as having the same value. All books, all music, all movies are of equal value. Of course this only lasts until they want to sell something, then its value is much more than anyone else's.

post #23 of 81

And yet, the worst DOJ in the history of DOJs, a DOJ with a total disregard for the law and the constitution, are going after Apple.

post #24 of 81

The typical counter argument to Amazon's tactic here is that consumers may benefit in receiving cheaper books, but this fundamentally doesn't understand how a quality book comes to be.

 

The idea that a publisher can be cut out of the equation ignores the significant role of publishers in the development of books. The rule is never let the author edit their own work and there is good reason for that. Plus the roles of publishers extend well beyond the skill set of everyday authors: mass production, logistics, media launches, selling in titles to chains etc. This is not something that amazon can replace.

For example independent editors are costly and publishing anything of value takes a significant amount of capital, planning, time, revisions and most importantly, external overview. Publishers give authors these things, publishers take chances on new talent. This is a valuable role that Amazon can't replace.

 

If Amazon keep this up , you'll still have books, but you'll have significantly fewer "great" books. Once the pipeline dries up you'll have publishers that are solely in the business of making money. Who wins then? the publishers who put out "safe" and repetitive genres. (i.e. trashy romance novels, or the equivalent paranormal variety to appeal to teens.) Then the opposite happens to reference books: Textbooks are expensive, but textbooks without specialty publishers are insanely expensive.

 

If you have ever wondered how the big music labels came to be producing rote musical acts, you're watching the answer now with books. Unlike music however, the drastically reducing cost of technology won't magically give new authors the capital and oversight they need to finish a book.

 

Indeed the agency model could have fixed much of this, but we won't really see anything like that for years now.

post #25 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I agree but the DOJ would say this is anti-competitive behavior and go after the publishers again. I've always wondered why the reseller gets to do whatever they want to (as long as it's Amazon) while the publisher and author are held hostage. If the author wants to sell their book for $1000 why should a reseller have the right to drop that price? Would Amazon actually pay this author $1000 and turn around and sell it for $9.99 just to push it's garbage products?

The problem with people today is they treat everything as having the same value. All books, all music, all movies are of equal value. Of course this only lasts until they want to sell something, then its value is much more than anyone else's.

Yes, the DOJ will do Amazon's bidding. That's why the publishers should independently pull their books. No phone calls, no paper trails with other publishers. Once one of them do it, the others will wait and see and independently do the same.
post #26 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Academic question: Is this sort of change a bad thing? Should be stop progress? 

History shows that, on balance, it's good. 

 

More importantly, it's inevitable. Creative destruction at work.

post #27 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



Academic question: Is this sort of change a bad thing? Should be stop progress? Remember when there ere general stores or corner stores where you could buy pretty much anything


The key to your point is that the general or corner stores gave way to specialty stores (specific to the type of goods, like shoe stores) but they were still local and easy to travel to. Once these local stores are gone then EVERYONE will need to order online and wait for delivery. Problem is, there are many occasions where a consumer can't wait for delivery, even next-day delivery.
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post #28 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

The key to your point is that the general or corner stores gave way to specialty stores (specific to the type of goods, like shoe stores) but they were still local and easy to travel to. Once these local stores are gone then EVERYONE will need to order online and wait for delivery. Problem is, there are many occasions where a consumer can't wait for delivery, even next-day delivery.

This is where I believe in capitalism. If there is a market then it can work, if not, and we require such local facilities to exist then we then use government to shore up areas where capitalism isn't effective.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #29 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Amazon, especially with the introduction of the Fire phone, is slowly but surely killing small business across the country. Consumers will walk into a local store to see, touch & feel the object they are shopping for and then will use their Firefly app to order online.

Between Amazon and Walmart it's definitely getting more difficult for small businesses to stay in business.

Academic question: Is this sort of change a bad thing? Should we stop progress? Remember when there ere general stores or corner stores where you could buy pretty much anything or when Sears would deliver anything, including pre-fab homes, via the mail that you picked out of a catalog? (Maybe @Dick Applebaum remembers the latter 1smile.gif)
Quote:




And here's what it looked like when you got it:

Quote:
Perfect example is a shoe store.

1) Walk in.
2) Get perfectly fitted by a professional
3) Ask to try on "one last pair"
4) Salesman walks into the stock room to retrieve "one last pair" thinking he made a great sale

5) Meanwhile, consumer scans UPC with Firefly, finds much better deals
6) When salesman returns, fake an "emergency" and walk out, only to order on Amazon.

It happens multiple times daily in the shoe store across from my shop and it's putting him out of business.

On the one-hand that's a clever use of the technology. I had only conceived of it for creating a grocery shopping list at home with ease. On the other hand that shoe store is not a charity so it's unethical to take up the employee's time under the guise of being a customer when you have no intention of doing so.

Maybe he should get a cell jammer so they can't check Amazon's prices. 1biggrin.gif
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post #30 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I agree but the DOJ would say this is anti-competitive behavior and go after the publishers again. I've always wondered why the reseller gets to do whatever they want to (as long as it's Amazon) while the publisher and author are held hostage. If the author wants to sell their book for $1000 why should a reseller have the right to drop that price? Would Amazon actually pay this author $1000 and turn around and sell it for $9.99 just to push it's garbage products?

The problem with people today is they treat everything as having the same value. All books, all music, all movies are of equal value. Of course this only lasts until they want to sell something, then its value is much more than anyone else's.

Sad to say but people today know the price of everything but the value of nothing.
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #31 of 81
Bezos is a whore for good publicity, so his recent treatment of publishers suggests that he is under a lot of pressure to generate profits at Amazon.
post #32 of 81
Amazon is the Wal-Mart of today, except they don't convert local jobs to low paying ones. They eliminate them completely. This is a slippery slope. Under no circumstances should a publisher allow Amazon to reprint their titles.
post #33 of 81
Does the DO have the ability to do anything about action occurring in the EU and the UK or are people just ranting without reading the article. Or have I just misread the article?
post #34 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotTylerDurden View Post

Amazon is the Wal-Mart of today, except they don't convert local jobs to low paying ones. They eliminate them completely. This is a slippery slope. Under no circumstances should a publisher allow Amazon to reprint their titles.

Amazon, in its own unique way, is actually even worse than that. The vast majority of "amazon" jobs are through temp agencies, only.

post #35 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Between Amazon and Walmart it's definitely getting more difficult for small businesses to stay in business.

Academic question: Is this sort of change a bad thing? Should we stop progress? Remember when there ere general stores or corner stores where you could buy pretty much anything or when Sears would deliver anything, including pre-fab homes, via the mail that you picked out of a catalog? (Maybe @Dick Applebaum remembers the latter 1smile.gif)
On the one-hand that's a clever use of the technology. I had only conceived of it for creating a grocery shopping list at home with ease. On the other hand that shoe store is not a charity so it's unethical to take up the employee's time under the guise of being a customer when you have no intention of doing so.

Maybe he should get a cell jammer so they can't check Amazon's prices. 1biggrin.gif
This is what killed the music instrument stores. I worked for two that got run out of retail because people would do just that. The manufacturers would give these online stores discounts that the mom and pops couldn't get close to.
post #36 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

The key to your point is that the general or corner stores gave way to specialty stores (specific to the type of goods, like shoe stores) but they were still local and easy to travel to. Once these local stores are gone then EVERYONE will need to order online and wait for delivery. Problem is, there are many occasions where a consumer can't wait for delivery, even next-day delivery.

This is where I believe in capitalism. If there is a market then it can work, if not, and we require such local facilities to exist then we then use government to shore up areas where capitalism isn't effective.

It can be sad, though and a loss of history ...

In 1969, we brought our first house in Fox River Grove IL -- northwest of Chicago (a small town with one stop light, log cabins, etc.). One of the first things we needed to buy was a lawn mower. Rather than drive 40 miles round trip to a Sears store, Lucy suggested we check out the local hardware store. The salesman said "Yeah, we have all kinds of lawn mowers" and lead us down into the basement. What a sight -- like being in the catacombs or the sewers of paris -- like a horizontal mine with shafts branching of into the darkness in every direction.

It turns out that during Prohibition, there was a Dance hall nearby that was frequented by the Capone mob. If there was a raid by the police or the Feds, the mob would head for the basement of the dance hall and exit in any of several places -- including the building that preceded the hardware store.






Prohibition was in effect between 1920 and 1933. During this time, the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal. Like many restaurant and roadhouse owners of the day, Louis Cernocky didn't always obey the law. Obtaining bootleg liquor put him in contact with the Chicago mob, and he became a liquor distributor for Al Capone's gang. Louis' Place became a friendly haven for Chicago-based gangsters.

Prohibition agents raided the restaurant from time to time. The buildings were built on the old foundations and cisterns of the Johnson farm, which led agents to believe that there were secret underground vaults beneath the surface.

http://www.angelfire.com/chicagolandhistory/louisplace.html


Mmm ... Maybe Geraldo should do a multipart TV special on The Fox River Grove Hardware store ...
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 6/27/14 at 9:13am
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post #37 of 81
I regret not having picked my grandparents brains.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #38 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

And yet, the worst DOJ in the history of DOJs, a DOJ with a total disregard for the law and the constitution, are going after Apple.
Agreed... The DoJ set it's sights on Apple in a farce of a trial where the Judge determined they were guilty before even the first witness deposition was heard, and yet they aren't even lifting a single finger to go after a truly evil monopoly, Amazon.

Just like Samsung, I've banned any and all things Amazon from my household, including purchasing anything from them, instead trying to support my local economy and small business competing against them. Even if I have to pay a few percentage points more for the same product, at least I have the satisfaction of knowing my money isn't lining their coffers, or contributing to a SMB's bankruptcy.
post #39 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Between Amazon and Walmart it's definitely getting more difficult for small businesses to stay in business.

Academic question: Is this sort of change a bad thing? Should we stop progress? Remember when there ere general stores or corner stores where you could buy pretty much anything or when Sears would deliver anything, including pre-fab homes, via the mail that you picked out of a catalog? (Maybe @Dick Applebaum remembers the latter 1smile.gif)
On the one-hand that's a clever use of the technology. I had only conceived of it for creating a grocery shopping list at home with ease. On the other hand that shoe store is not a charity so it's unethical to take up the employee's time under the guise of being a customer when you have no intention of doing so.

Maybe he should get a cell jammer so they can't check Amazon's prices. 1biggrin.gif

You're going to see store managers putting tear-away tabs on boxes to cover the UPC code. To be removed only by sales clerk at purchase counter.

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post #40 of 81

Two words for everyone. "Boycott Amazon!"

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