Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Price Check Day!

Today only, head into a brick and mortar retail store with Amazon’s new Price Check App on your smart phone, and scan a barcode with the location settings active, and then report back to Amazon on the price of that product. For using the app, Amazon will deduct up to $5 from your online purchase of that product. Amazon claims it’s trying to keep prices low for consumers, but others attribute the move to a less innocuous agenda.

While the promotion doesn’t actually cover books, the independent bookseller community has been the most vocal about the promotion with several bookseller blogs suggesting alternatives, and an "Occupy Amazon" facebook event being scheduled to protest Amazon's promotion. Bookstores have begun complaining about being used as mere “showrooms” for books, with the actual purchase of the book occurring online. A recent study seems to indicate that they have a point, finding 24% of people who bought books online saying they had looked at the book in a bookstore first, and 39% of people who bought books from Amazon specifically saying they had looked at the book in brick and mortar bookstore prior to purchase.

Eight years ago, Tim O'Reilly had this to say about where you should buy, and then he kind of repeated it when blogging about a similar app.

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