Amazon: The Rise of a Monopoly

Home S&S Opinion Amazon: The Rise of a Monopoly

By NIKKI GHAEMI
Staff Writer

With the holiday season rolling around, consumers will be hurrying to find gifts for their loved ones. Students might be looking for study materials and textbooks. Most likely, they’ll head to Amazon for a variety of items and fast shipping.

Making up 5% of all retail sales in America, Amazon is a major power in our economy. If customers shift from buying Amazon to buying from other companies or small businesses, it certainly won’t suffer. 

Amazon’s business model is structured in a way specifically meant to eliminate any and all competitors. It’s what some consider to be a monopoly over nearly every industry. But Amazon has particularly threatened booksellers in the past decade. Major bookstore chains such as Borders have been shut down because of Amazon’s dominance, and inevitably, Barnes and Noble is next.

At this point, Barnes and Noble cannot keep up with Amazon on the stock market. Millions of people order from Amazon per day and despite the company’s unethical and unsustainable practices, its fast shipping and large array of products are convenient and hard to turn down

Whenever a 2-day shipping Prime order is placed, it often comes at the expense of an employee’s well-being. Countless reports state that Amazon has terrible working conditions, often times allegedly treating employees “like robots”. They are overworked and expected to work at unreasonable speeds. There have been numerous demonstrations advocating for better working conditions at Amazon, the most recent being during this past Black Friday weekend. 

The company often prioritizes third-party sellers over helping the actual publishers receive exposure, with competitions over which sellers show up in the “buy box” when you buy a book. By doing this, they are placing little value on intellectual ownership and authors end up receiving less money for their work.  Buying from Barnes and Noble and small businesses means the author is directly receiving more profit. 

If you’re able to spend a couple extra dollars on books or gifts this holiday season, or for any reason at all, consider buying from Barnes and Noble or other independent bookstores. Shopping small means you are supporting people directly. Orange County offers small businesses that place significantly more value on books. It’s worth the minor inconvenience in comparison to 2-day Amazon shipping if it means you’re supporting small sellers or keeping one of the last major book selling chains alive. 

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