Independent bookstores across the country put out the unwelcome mat for Amazon and the tech giant’s Prime Day shopping extravaganza this week, trying to call attention to the dire straits small businesses are facing during the pandemic.
The American Booksellers Association launched a “Boxed Out” campaign with creative slogans and installations in bookstore windows and posts on social media.
“People may not realize the cost and consequences of ‘convenience’ shopping until it’s too late,” Allison Hill, CEO of ABA, said in a news release. “More than one indie bookstore a week has closed since the COVID-19 crisis began.”
Hill added that Prime Day was forecast to generate $10 billion in revenue for Amazon.
The American Booksellers Association is a national nonprofit trade organization that works to help independently owned bookstores grow and succeed.
Playing off the ubiquitous nature of Amazon’s cardboard packaging, brown coverings were created to “overtake” participating storefronts with slogans such as “Bookstores vs. Billionaires” and “Books curated by real people not a creepy algorithm.” Fake cardboard books were displayed with titles such as “To Kill A Locally Owned Bookstore.”
The 48-hour Prime Day, which normally falls in July, was pushed back this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Outside groups analyzing data on Tuesday reported that the event was off to an impressive start. Amazon’s U.S. revenue for the first seven hours of the sale on Tuesday were reportedly up 19% over the same period during Prime Day 2019.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg was reporting that some workers were complaining that the rush to fill Prime Day orders was breaking protocols put in place to ensure warehouse worker safety during the pandemic. Employees at a Staten Island facility said the company has been hassling employees about productivity and warning that slowness could lead to termination.
Check out some of the tweets from bookstores participating in the #BoxedOut movement:
🚨 Amazon doubled its net profit this year. 🚨
⚠️ Meanwhile, more than 1 independent bookstore has closed each week since COVID-19 shut the country down. ⚠️
— IndieBound · October is the new December! (@indiebound) October 14, 2020
Amazon doubled its profits this year.
Meanwhile, we’ve lost one bookstore for every week of the pandemic.
Jeff Bezos grows richer while small businesses struggle to make it.
So we’re taking part in today’s “Don’t Box Out Bookstores” event
— Raven Book Store #SaveTheUSPS ✉️ (@ravenbookstore) October 14, 2020
We’re proud to join The National “Don’t Box Out Bookstores Event” to rally support for indie bookstores. The brown Amazon boxes have become ubiquitous, but they’re boxing out local bookstores, resulting in loss of local jobs and local tax $. All month #ShopIndie #BoxedOut pic.twitter.com/Phlnn7krXT
— cafe con libros bk (@cafeconlibrosbk) October 14, 2020
— 🦇🧛MOAN🧟♀️St👻BOOks🎃🕷️ (@main_st_books) October 13, 2020
Dear New York, Please come back to our stores. Sales remain down over 50% and we need you to keep this bookselling gig going. We have so many wonderful books and booksellers, all we need is you. #BoxedOut #ShopIndie pic.twitter.com/u7F8gXvopC
— McNally Jackson (@mcnallyjackson) October 14, 2020