The 'Amazon Washington Post,' and Why It Needs to Be Destroyed
As readers of PJ Media's daily feature, Hot Mic, are aware, I'm not a big fan of Amazon. In the guise of ease, efficiency and allegedly low prices, it's crushing the life out of the retail sector in the United States, demolishing bookstores, big-box stores, department stores, grocery stores, record stores, and even smaller retail outlets, putting small businessmen, struggling authors and garage bands out of business. In so doing, it's also killing job prospects for entry-level workers who might actually not want to work at McDonald's.
In their place, it offers you Alexa, your very own electronic monitor and spy, sleeping right next to you on the nightstand in the innocuous guise of your smart phone or your tablet, monitoring your porn searches while it pretends to buy you Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest book or a tin of Acai berry powder.
In publishing, where I earn part of my living, it forces authors to compete with themselves, offering marked-down used versions of works still in print, thus depriving us of royalty payments. At a time when advances -- except to celebrities famous for something other than their literary skills -- are a tenth of what they used to be, working writers must now depend on quickly earning out the initial advance (based on -- you guessed it -- royalties) and then getting subsequent paychecks at six-month intervals for as long as the book continues to sell new copies.
Don't even get me started on Hollywood.
Well, you say, that's my -- and Roger's and Richard's and Drew Klavan's and Roger Kimball's and David Goldman's and VDH's and Andy's, among other PJ colleagues -- tough luck. True enough. But, wait -- you're next.
Shares of Home Depot and Lowe's were slammed Thursday, along with Whirlpool, after Amazon threatened to take on the appliance market in a much bigger way in a deal with Sears Holdings.
The market cap loss in Home Depot, Lowe's, Whirlpool and Best Buy was about $12.5 billion by the end of the day, after falling to more than $13 billion. Amazon stock was up slightly, and Sears closed up about 10 percent.
But the early read from some analysts was that the sell-off has created a buying opportunity for home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe's, which have proven themselves to be somewhat "Amazon-proof" and among the best performers in the sector. Best Buy, already battling Amazon in electronics, ended the day about 4 percent lower.
Sears, which has been losing share in appliance for years, saw its stock rally as much as 25 percent early Thursday, soon after it announced it would sell its Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon.com. The products will be compatible with Amazon's Alexa platform.
God knows, Sears can use the help, as the pictures at the link show. Even if it comes via the Trojan Horse of Alexa. Having been beaten nearly to death by its own ineptitude and electronic retailing, Sears has finally decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.