President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at an Amazon fulfillment center Tuesday to discuss the economy and some independent book publishers are livid about it.
Dennis Johnson, the founder of independent publisher Melville House, ripped the Seattle online giant in a recent blog post, writing that “no American monopoly has ever been so cozy with the government.” He cited Apple’s recent loss in court over e-book prices, Amazon’s potential big deal with the CIA and Obama’s visit on Tuesday.
From Johnson’s piece:
All of which is to say that for this Amazon critic, at least, and perhaps for anyone who had a shred of belief left that they were in a system with some sense of concern for the little guy, it seems the company has, finally, won its ultimate triumph. The war seems to be over, and the good guys have lost. The only thing that would have stopped Amazon anyway was government intervention, and it’s hard to imagine the DOJ opening a proper antitrust investigation of a company that has the President of the United States dropping in to laud the company and spend some time in one of its warehouses.
Others like Reading Frenzy Bookshop owner Sheri Olson are struggling to understand how “supporting a monopoly such as Amazon helps small businesses & middle-income Americans,” especially as Amazon continues to offer low prices.
Just days before Obama’s visit, Amazon said that it will add another 5,000 full-time jobs at its U.S. distribution facilities — a 25 percent increase beyond its existing 20,000 fulfillment center employees in the country. The company has already more than tripled its workforce over the past three years.
Both Obama and Amazon support the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would clear the way for a more uniform national policy on Internet sales tax. Tennessee Campaign for Liberty is planning to use Tuesday’s visit to protest Obama for his support of the act.
Amazon, known for its razor-thin profit margins, last week posted a $7 million quarterly loss as it continues to expand its workforce and its business. The company’s direct workforce is now 97,000, up from fewer than 30,000 three years ago.
Previously on GeekWire: An open letter to Jeff Bezos: A contract worker’s take on Amazon.com