Causal Rewrite- PitandthePendulum

Needs a Flippin’ Title!

The death of the independent bookstore can be attributed to one, well-known factor: Amazon. Since its beginning in 1995 as an online bookseller, it launched a brand-new business model that eventually made it grow into the all-encompassing shopping giant that it is today. As Indie bookstores battle to re-emerge from the annals of time, one must be able to acknowledge how and why they faced extinction in the first place. Such reasons as Amazon’s efficiency, variety, and pricing, as well as marketing tactics and advertising can be attributed to its gross victory over the independent bookseller.

Amazon has been able to succeed and triumph over independent bookstores for various reasons. The first and most popular of these: Convenience. Amazon is open 24-hours, 365 days a years, and can essentially be accessed anywhere there is internet connection. The independent bookstore runs on schedules and times set by its owners (who may close early, on holidays, weekends, Mondays, etc), and requires customers to travel to their set location in order to purchase their product. Though these stores offer the instant gratification Amazon doesn’t, Amazon makes up for it in an equally important field: Pricing. Amazon is able to offer sales and cheaper prices for literature that small bookstores are financially unable to match. A personal study conducted at ‘Inkwood Books’ in Haddonfield, New Jersey proved this point. A copy of the book ‘Queens of the Abyss: Lost Stories from the Women of the Weird” compiled by Mike Ashley was priced at a dismal $24. While Inkwood provides a cozy, quiet atmosphere , as well as involvement with the local school districts and local authors, a quick journey to Amazon shows the book priced at $14.14 (with $5.99). Amazon even offers additional options from other sellers and parties, with some used copies being priced at $12.30, and some new copies priced at $11.76. Even with shipping costs, Amazon still proves the wiser seller to purchase from if one doesn’t want to spend a fortune on mere paperbacks.

Another facet of Amazon that proves to be detrimental to the small bookstore business is E-books. Purchasable on Kindle through Amazon, many of these pieces are self-published, meaning that the variety of books offered by Amazon is much vaster than any brick and mortar establishment’s inventory. An article from News24 boasts the claim the E-book sales have more than doubled in the past three years alone, with Amazon’s involvement and the pandemic most likely offering a fair explanation. E-books offer an additional win for Amazon through their convenience. They are able to be downloaded onto any device or e-reader almost instantly after purchase, giving the instant gratification of an independent bookshop over the internet. In this digital age, online bookshops have found how to market their infinite variety to every type of reader. Independent bookstores suffer the consequences of this, as it is nearly impossible for them to keep up with the near-infinite stock of online sellers and near-infinite amount of published works. Many independent bookstores specialize in one subject, making it easier to obtain titles and create a decent amount of stock, but harder to obtain clients, as consumers in such stores must be interested in the specific niche that the store focuses on.

References ( NOT SOURCES )

Chu, CP., Guo, WC. & Lai, FC. On the competition between an online bookstore and a physical bookstore. Netnomics 13, 141–154 (2012).

News24, “E-books Hurt Traditional Bookstores”, News24, (2011).

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2 Responses to Causal Rewrite- PitandthePendulum

  1. davidbdale says:

    Indie Bookstores Emerge from the Grave
    Your overall thesis is essentially Causal from start to finish, PitAndThePendulum. You postulate that first Amazon and then other online booksellers virtually killed the independent bookselling community (and did a pretty good job killing the big bookselling chains, too), but that recent reengineering of the indie bookshops into a more experience-based retail environment has resulted in a resurgence in their industry. That’s all causal argument that will succeed or fail based on how well you explain the details. A lot of them show up in your Definition argument already, which suggests you might want to reorganize your material. Here’s a suggestion: Use your Definition argument to Define “The Ideal Online Bookshopping Experience” and “The Ideal In-Person Bookshopping Experience” and indicate how much or how little Amazon and a typical independent bookstore meet those ideals. Amazon hits a lot of ideals: Open 24 hours, endless supply, customer reviews, quick delivery, low prices. Indie Bookshops hit others: Knowledgeable staff, Curated selections, Cafe environment, Community. If you established those parameters in your Definition Argument, your Causal could track the migration AWAY from in-person bookstores to online shopping and NOW the migration BACK to indie shops as a series of causes and effects. Amazon stole customers from brick-and-mortar stores with massive inventories and low prices. Bookshops died by the thousands. Now they’re clawing their way back by catering to special niche buyers who miss the camaraderie of buying and discussing books from like-minded readers. Does that help? You don’t have to revise both simultaneously. Just concentrate on your Causal for now even if it steals material from your Definition.


  2. davidbdale says:

    I’m surprised to see no revisions following our conversation regarding the very many ways book sales have declined. Congratulations, though, on doing your own site research.
    Graded SAT APR 29.


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