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Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.



Friday, December 9, 2011

More on Amazon...

Following up from the last post -- there are some great posts around on Amazon's latest "marketing" campaign targeting independent retailers.  First is the open letter from the American Bookseller's Association -- an instant classic in both its satire and its seriousness. 

A lot can be said about Amazon's business practices.  Most of it probably not very nice.  By most accounts, Amazon does little for local communities or economies.  Like many things these days, consumers go for the quick savings without considering or perhaps understanding the longer term costs or broader implications.  Amazon looks great up front, but there are costs -- and those costs are born by local communities and small businesses.

Take, for example, the college store -- most college stores are non-profit small businesses whose net profits go back to the institution to support educational affordability -- financial aid, student services, or sometimes capital budgets.  Most college stores are working on reducing the cost of course materials in many creative ways -- while still making returns and contributions to their local campus communities, and in many cases their states too, since college stores collect sales tax in most states. 

The latest Amazon campaign may look like a simple marketing gimmick.  Maybe it is.  But at what point do their business practices go too far and the costs to our communities become too high? 

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