I had the opportunity to shop at my first ever Amazon Book Store during a trip to Seattle this last week. I’ve long been on the fence about Amazon’s crippling effect on the retail industry—especially what it’s done to book stores.
On the one hand, I do love the fact that I can kick back on the couch and order a stack of books whenever the need moves me. On the other, the ease of use and convenience of online purchasing has left a desolate wasteland where once there was a beautifully diverse selection of book carriers. I was chewing on this thought a bit as I walked through the doors of the University Village store.
My thoughts on “right and wrong” quickly subsided as I started roaming the isles looking for possible additions to my library. As I slowly moved through the rows, amassing a nice size stack of possibilities, I realized that I’m not sure it makes a lot of difference to me one way or the other. From my standpoint, I am a consumer of books, and that is it. I can survive with or without a diverse biome of book resellers—I’ve already been doing it for years. To me things like paper vs. ebook, online vs. brick and mortar are largely moot. I consider myself largely media agnostic, meaning I’ll take my books (or music or movies) in just about any format available, and it seems my purchasing preferences are agnostic as well.
I consider myself largely media agnostic, meaning I’ll take my books (or music or movies) in just about any format available, and it seems my purchasing preferences are agnostic as well.
While this viewpoint would probably be an affront to many, I think that’s just alright. As a designer, especially one working on the web and in the technology space, rapid change has been a constant part of my life for nearly two decades. Nothing in this world is static. Change is constant. We can move with it or resist it, but the outcome is often just that—an outcome. And outcomes change. They are subject to the same rate of time creep as everything else.
The Amazon store was cool, the fact that I could pick up books in the store, order a portion of them online in the store and then pay for them all on my Amazon card made me feel connected. I experienced a seamless melding of technologies that provided a bridge between my online and IRL lives, which ultimately made me happy, and that is what book buying (to me) is about.