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Amazon 'Destroyed the Retail Industry Across the US'
#1  Raphi'Elohim 07-25-2019, 07:47 PM
From slashdot :
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Amazon "destroyed the retail industry across the United States" and that it's appropriate for the attorney general to investigate the company alongside other tech giants in the sweeping antitrust review that the Justice Department announced yesterday. "There's no question they've limited competition,"

Mnuchin told CNBC's Squawk Box. From the report:

Mnuchin said that "although there's certain benefits" to Amazon's success, the company has "really hurt small businesses" in the process. "I think it's absolutely right that the attorney general is looking into these issues," he said this morning. The Justice Department said yesterday that it would begin a review into whether major online platforms have "reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers." While Amazon was not mentioned by name, the assumption is that the DOJ will be looking at it alongside other tech giants, like Facebook and Google, that also vastly dominate their fields.

Amazon responded to Mnuchin's remarks with a comment saying that its platform helps small businesses and that physical stores still dominate retail sales. "Small and medium-sized businesses are thriving with Amazon," a spokesperson said. They said that Amazon represents "less than 4 percent of U.S. retail," and that 90 percent of retail sales "still occur in brick-and-mortar stores according to the U.S. Census Bureau."

https://news.slashdot.org/story/19/07/24/2113203/amazon-destroyed-the-retail-industry-across-the-us-says-treasury-secretary-mnuchin


Let's see here, Amazon almost put Barnes and & Noble out of business and they may still do so. Amazon does not innovate on it's own volition. For instance, Amazon probably only has the warm orange night time glow and waterproof options because Kobo introduced them first and Kobo is not doing so well compared to Amazon.

Also, Amazon has limited competition as they are probably the reason Sony stopped making eReaders but they still make expensive e-ink tablets. There is little doubt in my mind if Sony was still making eReaders they would be the most superior but a bit more expensive than most eReaders.

Bottom line : I feel morally superior for having the new Barnes & Noble nook glowlight plus 7.8 inch.

P.S. please don't shoot the messenger (me) if you own a Kindle.
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#2  DiapDealer 07-25-2019, 08:39 PM
Big box stores like B&N ran mom & pop bookstores out of business. Now they're on the side of the angels? Go figure.
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#3  barryem 07-25-2019, 08:50 PM
I watched a documentary about the history of Barnes and Noble. Here's a link if anyone is interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iuct6UkKs7o

They mentioned that B&N put a lot of small bookstores out of business long before Amazon came along and that since Amazon, small bookstores are growing in number and thriving.

I think it's also fairly plain that it's Barnes and Noble's poor service and shoddy practices that are hurting them, far more than anything Amazon has done.

I can't recall if it was in that documentary or another one I watched about the same time but it was mentioned that malls began closing in large numbers all around the country long before Amazon came along. I doubt that any single factor is to blame for that but my guess is that the major cause would be Walmart.

However it is sad to see one business fade and another take it's place and government should do something about that. They could begin by subsidising horse and buggy makers and penalizing auto makers. Or maybe the first step should be to get rid if the oil and gas and coal companies and promote firewood. Or replace the medical industry with leech growers.

Things change. It always happens. It always has happened. And when things change someone wins and someone loses. And let's all be glad that's true. If it wasn't we'd still be living in caves.

Barry
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#4  Bookstooge 07-25-2019, 08:57 PM
Quote Raphi'Elohim
.....




Let's see here, Amazon almost put Barnes and & Noble out of business and they may still do so. Amazon does not innovate on it's own volition. For instance, Amazon probably only has the warm orange night time glow and waterproof options because Kobo introduced them first and Kobo is not doing so well compared to Amazon.

Also, Amazon has limited competition as they are probably the reason Sony stopped making eReaders but they still make expensive e-ink tablets. There is little doubt in my mind if Sony was still making eReaders they would be the most superior but a bit more expensive than most eReaders.....

Bolding mine.

B&N is putting themselves out of business, they don't need any help, from anyone.

As for your assertion about amazon and sony, prove it. Seriously, if you're going to make wild statements like that, at least back it up with a modicum of fact instead of fanboi enthusiasm.
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#5  pwalker8 07-25-2019, 09:18 PM
Quote Bookstooge
Bolding mine.

B&N is putting themselves out of business, they don't need any help, from anyone.

As for your assertion about amazon and sony, prove it. Seriously, if you're going to make wild statements like that, at least back it up with a modicum of fact instead of fanboi enthusiasm.
A modification of the old nazi rule (first person in an internet argument who calls the other a nazi, lost the argument), first person who calls the other person a fanboi has already lost the argument. One can discuss matters without instantly resorting to name calling.

IMPO, it was fairly obvious that Amazon is vulnerable to anti-trust with their market share. That puts them square in the cross-hairs and they really haven't been particularly careful about how they used their market muscle. I tend focus more on the ebook side though.

I rather doubt that Amazon ran B&N out of business. I agree that it was B&N's own stupidity. It's really too bad because B&N use to be a really good bookstore. I don't know that Walmart drove the malls out of business. Walmart tends to cater to a different clientele than most malls. There are actually malls doing quite well, but they are the malls that have a nice balance of shops that complement each other.
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#6  Raphi'Elohim 07-25-2019, 09:28 PM
Quote pwalker8
A modification of the old nazi rule (first person in an internet argument who calls the other a nazi, lost the argument), first person who calls the other person a fanboi has already lost the argument. One can discuss matters without instantly resorting to name calling.

IMPO, it was fairly obvious that Amazon is vulnerable to anti-trust with their market share. That puts them square in the cross-hairs and they really haven't been particularly careful about how they used their market muscle. I tend focus more on the ebook side though.

I rather doubt that Amazon ran B&N out of business. I agree that it was B&N's own stupidity. It's really too bad because B&N use to be a really good bookstore. I don't know that Walmart drove the malls out of business. Walmart tends to cater to a different clientele than most malls. There are actually malls doing quite well, but they are the malls that have a nice balance of shops that complement each other.

"When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." -- Socrates

The Ultimate Stratagem (XXXVIII)

A last trick is to become personal, insulting, rude, as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand, and that you are going to come off worst. It consists in passing from the subject of dispute, as from a lost game, to the disputant himself, and in some way attacking his person. It may be called the argumentum ad personam, to distinguish it from the argumentum ad hominem, which passes from the objective discussion of the subject pure and simple to the statements or admissions which your opponent has made in regard to it. But in becoming personal you leave the subject altogether, and turn your attack to his person, by remarks of an offensive and spiteful character. It is an appeal from the virtues of the intellect to the virtues of the body, or to mere animalism. This is a very popular trick, because every one is able to carry it into effect; and so it is of frequent application. Now the question is, What counter-trick avails for the other party? for if he has recourse to the same rule, there will be blows, or a duel, or an action for slander.

It would be a great mistake to suppose that it is sufficient not to become personal yourself. For by showing a man quite quietly that he is wrong, and that what he says and thinks is incorrect - a process which occurs in every dialectical victory - you embitter him more than if you used some rude or insulting expression. Why is this? Because, as Hobbes observes,17 all mental pleasure consists in being able to compare oneself with others to one's own advantage. Nothing is of greater moment to a man than the gratification of his vanity, and no wound is more painful than that which is inflicted on it. Hence such phrases as "Death before dishonour," and so on. The gratification of vanity arises mainly by comparison of oneself with others, in every respect, but chiefly in respect of one's intellectual powers; and so the most effective and the strongest gratification of it is to be found in controversy. Hence the embitterment of defeat, apart from any question of injustice; and hence recourse to that last weapon, that last trick, which you cannot evade by mere politeness. A cool demeanour may, however, help you here, if, as soon as your opponent becomes personal, you quietly reply, "That has no bearing on the point in dispute," and immediately bring the conversation back to it, and continue to show him that he is wrong, without taking any notice of his insults. Say, as Themistocles said to Eurybiades - Strike, but hear me. But such demeanour is not given to every one.

As a sharpening of wits, controversy is often, indeed, of mutual advantage, in order to correct one's thoughts and awaken new views. But in learning and in mental power both disputants must be tolerably equal: If one of them lacks learning, he will fail to understand the other, as he is not on the same level with his antagonist. If he lacks mental power, he will be embittered, and led into dishonest tricks, and end by being rude.

The only safe rule, therefore, is that which Aristotle mentions in the last chapter of his Topica: not to dispute with the first person you meet, but only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to cherish truth, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong, should truth lie with him. From this it follows that scarcely one man in a hundred is worth your disputing with him. You may let the remainder say what they please, for every one is at liberty to be a fool - desipere est jus gentium. Remember what Voltaire says: La paix vaut encore mieux que la verite. Remember also an Arabian proverb which tells us that on the tree of silence there hangs its fruit, which is peace.

--Arthur Schopenhauer
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#7  DiapDealer 07-25-2019, 09:31 PM
Malls. Those were those things that had 15 shoestores, a Spencer's Gifts, and a foodcourt under one roof, right? Can't figure out why they didn't last forever.
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#8  Deskisamess 07-25-2019, 09:33 PM
Another expert heard from.
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#9  Raphi'Elohim 07-25-2019, 09:45 PM
Quote barryem
I watched a documentary about the history of Barnes and Noble. Here's a link if anyone is interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iuct6UkKs7o

They mentioned that B&N put a lot of small bookstores out of business long before Amazon came along and that since Amazon, small bookstores are growing in number and thriving.

I think it's also fairly plain that it's Barnes and Noble's poor service and shoddy practices that are hurting them, far more than anything Amazon has done.
You might be right in some ways or maybe in everway (but I doubt it). B&N putting some bookstores out of business is normal capitalism. For instance, I live in New York and whenever I go to a city such as Manhattan I can find plenty of small bookstores that are not B&N and even when I got to smaller city, in New York, such as Saratoga I found at least two bookstores that are not B&N.

Now as far as poor service and shoddy practices go It seems to me common sense that the reason Amazon Kindle's firmware seems more polished with more features compared to the Nook and various Kobos is because Kobo and B&N can't afford to do that thanks to Amazon. Same goes for customer service. Don't get me wrong my Nook is fine for reading a book but it is a minimalist Zen like experience and a lot of people prefer bells and whistles over minimalist Zen. At least they recently put forth a software upgrade and the firmware seems more stable and less buggy now.

Quote
I can't recall if it was in that documentary or another one I watched about the same time but it was mentioned that malls began closing in large numbers all around the country long before Amazon came along. I doubt that any single factor is to blame for that but my guess is that the major cause would be Walmart.

However it is sad to see one business fade and another take it's place and government should do something about that. They could begin by subsidising horse and buggy makers and penalizing auto makers. Or maybe the first step should be to get rid if the oil and gas and coal companies and promote firewood. Or replace the medical industry with leech growers.

Things change. It always happens. It always has happened. And when things change someone wins and someone loses. And let's all be glad that's true. If it wasn't we'd still be living in caves.

Barry
The great American mall caters to a different demographic than Walmart. In malls , nowadays, you see teens comparing what is in stores to how much it costs online using their smartphones and Amazon is definitely one if not the most used one they use to do this.
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#10  tomsem 07-25-2019, 10:13 PM
IMO Mnuchin’s statements and the recent DoJ’s launch of an anti-trust review of Amazon, Facebook, and Google are nearly entirely politically motivated, on a mostly baseless conspiracy theory that they are politically biased against a certain political party. The DoJ is on a fishing expedition, but I think it is unlikely to be successful.

President Trump himself has publicly called for these things to happen, and in particular seems to have a personal vendetta against Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, who also happens to own the Washington Post, which he routinely calls ‘fake news’ in an attempt to deflect reporting he regards as unfavorable.

(Disclosure: I never bought books at B&N, and Amazon has gotten about 99% of my book-related purchases for the last 20+ years.)

Leaving politics aside, I don’t think Amazon (or Google or Facebook for that matter) is in fact in violation of the current anti-trust laws, or anywhere close to it. Microsoft’s run in with DoJ was a cautionary tale, was a huge setback for them, and was a boon for Google. Such large tech companies have regular training for their employees and teams of lawyers who review everything to make sure that they don’t repeat Microsoft’s error.

Google dominates in Search, and therefore ad revenue. Why? Is it ‘better’? I don’t know. But it is not a monopoly. Virtually all web browsers offer a choice of search engines, but most people never change the default (and Google pays Apple to make Google the default in Safari, for example). I use DuckDuckGo, and it is just fine.

Facebook dominates in social networking (in the USA especially), mostly because it was better than what preceded it and they have made strategic acquisitions since then. But they are running into headwinds in China, India and elsewhere and it is becoming fashionable to delete one’s Facebook account. Nobody is forced to have one or use one, apart from relatively mild social pressure. It’s unclear what societal or economic or whatever benefit there would be in ‘breaking up Facebook’ or how you would go about doing it.

Amazon has dominant share of book and ebook sales, but far from a monopoly in that segment. There are plenty of people who are determined not to ever buy books from Amazon, independent booksellers are thriving, and ‘nobody reads anymore’ so what does it matter. And it is not where they make money: AWS generates about half of their operating income, though only 13% of their total revenue, and it is growing much faster than the rest of Amazon. They are far from a monopoly in retail, or internet retail for that matter, nor is it clear they are on any path to become one (if they buy Walmart or vice versa that is a different story). Well over half of the retail revenue is through third party sellers.

Returning to politics, Elizabeth Warren wants to break these companies up too, and has a plan for doing so, but it does not make any sense to me. Undo Amazon’s Zappo’s acquisition? How does that change anything?

Or you’d have to convince a court that Facebook (Google, Amazon) is a public utility/platform covered by some interstate commerce laws or something, and I don’t think that’s possible.

What these companies have in common is they want to mine our personal data and make money off of it. That’s a problem, but we need some new laws to address that.

In the meantime, whatever trouble Big Tech is causing, it is mostly on us to understand it and make choices accordingly.
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