President Obama recently responded to a letter from New England Independent Booksellers Association director Steve Fischer in reference to Obama's recent visit to an Amazon warehouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Fischer and other indie booksellers have been particularly concerned lately about Obama's appearance and speech at the Amazon warehouse last month, in part because Amazon has significantly hurt small businesses.
The letter response to Steve Fisher (which can be read in full at Publishers Weekly) begins with much of what indie booksellers already know: Obama entered into presidency during the recession. Small businesses were already being hit hard. It goes on to mention all of what Obama has done for small businesses: the Small Business Jobs Act, the Startup America initiative and the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, among others.
However, he does not at one point mention Amazon (probably because the letter appears to be a form letter). This left Fischer upset. In an interview with the Atlantic Wire, Fisher noted that "My total fantasy would have been that he would cancel his speech at Amazon."
Fisher was also disappointed that Obama, at the very least, didn't visit any healthy, vibrant independent stores to balance out his Amazon visit.
Fisher further stated: "After the DOJ ruling on e-book pricing which so clearly favors Amazon, Obama's visit to their Chattanooga warehouse, and then not shopping at either of the independent bookstores on Martha's Vineyard while on vacation, I guess we're not having a summer of Obama love."
Many sent open letters to the President in the wake of his Amazon visit. The ABA (American Booksellers Association) pointed out in theirs: “Every $10 million in spending that shifts from Main Street retailers to Amazon results in a net loss of 33 retail jobs. That would mean for 2012 alone — using Amazon’s own numbers about its increase in sales — Amazon cost the U.S. economy more than 42,000 jobs just last year!”
Obama's appearance at the Amazon warehouse was a part of his tour promoting economic recovery.Before the visit, the Obama administration had praised Amazon as being a company “that is spurring job growth and keeping our country competitive."