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American Booksellers Association’s National “Boxed Out” Campaign Returns as Antitrust Legal Action Heats Up in Time for Amazon’s Prime Day, June 17, 2021:
While the hopeful signs of a post-pandemic life are growing, many small businesses are still struggling to recover. And while the United States faced the worst economic crisis in almost a century, Amazon’s operating income increased from $4.0 billion in Q1 2020 to $8.9 billion in Q1 2021, a 123% increase.
Last year during Prime Day, the American Booksellers Association (ABA), a not-for-profit trade association supporting 1,800 independent bookstores across the country, launched #BoxedOut, a national marketing campaign that received widespread coverage. Independent bookstore storefronts were covered with cardboard facades, reminiscent of the ubiquitous Amazon brown boxes on porches and in lobbies across America, and quotes such as “Don’t box out bookstores” and “Books curated by a real person, not a creepy algorithm,” and hundreds of indie bookstores took to social media to start a conversation about the cost and consequences of “convenience” shopping and how the growing market dominance of Amazon adversely affects local communities: the erosion of jobs, a loss of character for our hometowns, and less money for the local economy. The 2019 Civic Economics Prime Numbers study reports that 28 percent of all revenue from indie bookstores immediately recirculates in the local economy vs. only 4 percent when you shop with Amazon.
In a recent op-ed piece, ABA CEO Allison Hill stated, “This is a crucial moment in history. As the pandemic subsides and we return to the social spaces that bring us together, we will decide whether we want to be commoditized or recognized as individuals. Independent businesses all across the country add diversity, character, and humanity to our communities and they need our support. Without them, we’re just another brown box.”
From "Local booksellers push back against Amazon with #BoxedOut campaign" The Boston Globe, October 16, 2020
"Allison Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, a nonprofit organization for retailers that created the program, said this year’s pushback against Prime Day is especially important.... 'COVID would be the cause of death [for these bookstores],' Hill explained. 'But Amazon would be the pre-existing condition. … The world is a little bit under Amazon’s trance. We look out our windows, and I can see porches down my street with Amazon boxes sitting on them. Those boxes have become a norm that we expect, and I think it’s time to connect the dots between them and the impact on our communities.'”
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