I could use some help establishing a proper argument, Professor. I have a basic idea of how I want to start ( ie: Amazon and other online shopping platforms did not cause bookstores to close, rather their subsequent decline was caused by growing social media trends, environmental conditions, etc). However, I feel like that evidence might not be specific enough or might veer off of the main topic I want to present. Additionally, most of the articles I find do acknowledge how Amazon had a large part to play in the decimation of independently run brick and mortar establishments, so its hard for me to find good evidence to create a counterargument.
“The REAL Reason for the Independent Bookstore’s Demise”
As the independent bookshop begins its gradual return into the world of retail, Amazon still remains to be the scapegoat for the industry’s gradual collapse. That, however, is an incredibly oversimplified assessment of an issue that stems not only in the economic world, but in the social and psychological sphere as well. The rise of social media giants and their subsequent impact on the attention span, coupled with the pandemic and the economic crisis that followed it, can be factored in as a few alternate reasons for the collapse of the small book business.
In the case of the downfall of small book businesses, one needs to look no further than social media. It comes as no surprise that as social media began to grow, the number of readers began to shrink. As new social media apps began to surface, such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc, the world began to turn away from pages and towards screens. Research conducted amongst senior high school students at San Diego State University showed that 60% of seniors reported reading as a hobby in the 1970s. The same study was conducted again in 2016, and the results showed that only 16% of students reported doing so. Overall, it was estimated that only 1 in 3 students in the U.S engage in leisurely reading. Online ‘e-readers’ (those who indulge in online articles that do not qualify as e-books) can be found on hundreds of sites and apps that boast engaging, short-content that can be accessed either on mobile devices or computers (some of these sites include Reddit, The Washington Post, and other sites rife with content). A study conducted by the Wall Street Journal suggests that part of the reason engagement in attention-consuming activities like reading has gone down is due to society’s need for instant gratification.
As of 2021, 34% of American small businesses are still closed as a result of COVID. With approximately 99.9% of small businesses in America identifying as small businesses, and occupying 47.3% of the country’s private workforce, the loss of these businesses have threatened not only the nation’s economy, but the financial stability of many American citizens. Small bookstores make up only a small amount of businesses effected by the pandemic and its subsequent lockdown, and while Indie bookstores have begun to utilize social media in order to boost engagement and revenue, the effect of social media on the average user’s attention span has been drastic. As these stores try to boost their engagement, they can’t guarantee that their viewers will ever engage with them beyond one simple like over the internet.
Natanson, Hannah (2018) “Yes, teens are texting and using social media instead of reading books, researchers say”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/08/20/for-american-teens-texting-and-social-media-are-replacing-books/
Ghosh, Iman (2021) “34% of America’s small businesses are still closed due to COVID-19. Here’s why it matters”, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/05/america-united-states-covid-small-businesses-economics/
O’Brien, Reese (2022) “Indie Bookstores’ COVID Recovery: Leveraging TikTok and BookShop.org”, https://pulitzercenter.org/stories/indie-bookstores-covid-recovery-leveraging-tiktok-and-bookshoporg
Wall Street Journal (2022) “Why Are Our Attention Spans Shortening?”, https://www.wsj.com/articles/attention-spans-shortening-tiktok-social-media-gen-z-millenials-reading-education-focus-11667336185
I’ve renamed your posts, P&P, because you’ve got it backwards.
We do feedback and grades on the Rewrite only.
This post will not be graded once I change its name to Rebuttal—PitAndThePendulum.
I’m removing it from Grade Please.