On Amazon and the Economics of Clicking My Mouse

Publish date:

I just read an article in the NYTimes titled "Small Publishers Feel
Power of Amazon's 'Buy' Button,"
in which they talk about how Amazon--
in an effort to try and get an increasingly more favorable cut of the
profits from publishers-- will take away the "Buy now with 1 click"
button on many of the titles that that publisher puts online (which
includes free shipping) unless they bend to their demands, forcing
people to go through to the Amazon marketplace (and pay for shipping)
to purchase the book.

The first thing I thought when I read the article was "wow, we're
getting upset because we actually have to click the mouse at least
three more times to purchase a book" and then I thought "well, three
times is kind of a lot," and then I thought "especially when you cut
your pointer finger moving an air conditioning unit." But after
reading it over again (I'm thorough!), I realized the main point:
Amazon is not being cool.

On one hand--and this hand is small, fragile, and needs its nails
trimmed-- I understand Amazon's move. They are a business, and
businesses make money, and money is what you need to buy Playstation
3's, even if you're only using them for the Blu-Ray disc drive. Of
course a business is going to try and gain a more favorable financial
foothold, especially if their place in the market has increased.
That's just Econ 101, a class I never took.

But Amazon touts itself as "Earth's most customer-centric company"
and customers shouldn't be forced to get punished financially for
liking titles that just happen to be published by companies who are
not assenting to Amazon's demands. More importantly, I use the "buy
now with 1 click" button all the time to make impulsive purchases,
and then rationalize the purchase by telling myself that it's too
late to take it back because it's already been shipped (free!), and I
don't want to feel like I'm supporting someone who is being a jerk to
people in our literary fraternity/sorority/society. So I'm (kind of)

This remains just another example of the (business) man keeping me down.

But, friends, yours and my time would be wasted if I didn't have a
solution for said situation. And I don't, which I feel bad about, but
I think you can help. You're all smart, savvy, aesthetically pleasing
people of various Interweb knowledge, so I figure you can provide me
(and you) with the names of all other online book retailers that you
use and think offer sweet deals or at least fair purchasing rights
with moderately few clicks. You can provide these names in a section
of the blog I have named "Comments" and then we will use that
knowledge to better our lives. This is what economists call "very

So let's do unto others as they'd do unto us in the Comment section
and let the Tony Rich Project carry us home with another sweet sweet
ditty from the year of Bob Dole. After all, he's missing you and nobody
knows it but him.


The Tony Rich Project