Sunday, July 22, 2012

ABE Books

Does Amazon own everything? The vast reach of this company is incredible and, to me, startling.
by Charlie Leck

So, I was lazing around on the Internet on a morning last week, trying to figure something out about a web site call and whether or not I should join it, WHEN my eyes spotted a note about my favorite place to buy books, ABE.

“Online bookseller AbeBooks (now owned by Amazon) bought a 40% share in LibraryThing in May 2006 for an undisclosed sum.[9]

“What?” I sat up, startled, and said that to myself aloud. “My wonderful web site, where I buy an awful lot of books for used prices from independent book dealers all over the world, is owned by the massive sales giant known as Amazon?”

I stuttered and stammered; and I wanted to spit.

“This can not be! It cannot!”

I’ve been purchasing books from ABE since 1996. Back then, its name stood for American Book Exchange. Now, I guess it stand for Amazon Buys Everything!

My books have come from independent used book dealers from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine – and from Terre Haute, Indiana to Sidney, Australia. My most expensive purchase was for a rare book at $600. I thought it was a steal! It was a steal! I cherish it still. My cheapest purchase was $1. Most of the books I’ve purchased from ABE were for a dollar, with a couple of bucks added for shipping.

I don’t buy from Amazon! I don’t know why! It’s just something I decided to not do when I realized what a giant they’ve become and that they will now sell you just about anything and everything you want. Someone told me a couple of years ago that Amazon had become the largest and busiest friggin’ web site in the entire world – that many times you are dealing with Amazon and don’t even know it.

“Not me!” I replied to him. “I know where the heck I’m buying my stuff – and from whom!”

Yeh, sure! And then I came upon this little note in Wikipedia when I was trying to find out something about LibraryThing. It’s all very distasteful.

Will the entire world soon be owned my mega corporations? Will we no longer have a little confectionary store where we can walk in and greet the owner and take a chair by his nice, warm pot-belly stove?

“Hello, Henry! What’s the good woman cooking up for lunch today? Oh, heck! Whatever it is, that’s what I’ll have, okay? And with a good, hot cup of black coffee if you don’t mind. Here, take it out of this,” I say as I slide a dollar bill over to him.

I swear by the stars above, the world has changed so much that my late old man must be spinning wildly around in amazement out there somewhere in the vast universe. Whatever little star he made his eternal home upon is probably now owned by Amazon!

Whatever am I going to do now about buying my used books?

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