Obama's Amazon Factory Visit Angers Independent Booksellers

Book Store Owners Call Out Obama

President Obama’s jobs speech at an Amazon warehouse in Chattanooga, Tenn. earlier this week has sparked angry reactions from independent booksellers, who are struggling to compete against the ecommerce behemoth.

The American Booksellers Association (ABA), a non-profit trade organization for independent bookstores, published an open letter on Monday to the President, calling the portrayal of Amazon as a job creator “greatly misguided.”

“Every $10 million in spending that shifts from Main Street retailers to Amazon results in a net loss of 33 retail jobs,” the letter reads. “That would mean for 2012 alone — using Amazon’s own numbers about its increase in sales — Amazon cost the U.S. economy more than 42,000 jobs just last year!”

The ABA pointed to Amazon’s recent decision to cut book prices as a move that would kill small business jobs. The trade group also raised the contentious issue of state sales taxes. Many states tax sales from retail stores, but only a handful have sales taxes for ecommerce transactions. This gives Internet giants like Amazon an unfair "competitive advantage" over small book retailers, the group said.

Amazon’s market share has increased steadily over the past several years, reaching almost 30 percent of the U.S. book market last year, according to Publisher’s Weekly. Retail bookstores, meanwhile, have experienced declining sales, prompting some industry groups to accuse Amazon of monopolistic tendencies.

Prior to the visit, the Obama administration applauded Amazon as a company “that is spurring job growth and keeping our country competitive,” according to The Chattanooga Times-Free Press.

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