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Store Name and locations have been *** for privacy. I am a customer to both my local small stores as well as larger chains such as B&N and Amazon. Recently I went onto the website of a local store and found this article written by their "management". To say the least I was embarrassed at the slanderous attitude of the article. It appears to me that instead of slandering larger companies and their owners, a smaller chain such as this should focus more on their stronger selling points; local jobs, taxes to the state, charitable donations, strong customer loyalty/customer service etc. Instead they took a prime opportunity to rave about their own company, and turned it into an article about the larger chains. In my opinion this makes the company look AWFUL. :-\ I wrote a letter to the company and have put that at the bottom as well- I'd love to know what you guys think.....please no flames if my opinions upset you. They are mine and mine alone. :)

Independent local businesses of all types are fighting a fierce battle to survive. According to the Andersonville economic study (available online, just "Google" it), independent businesses return 68 cents out of every dollar in sales to their local communities. This they do by buying goods and services locally. "Big boxes" and other chain stores, on the other hand, return only 43 cents to the community. The difference, one dollar out of every four spent by customers, goes off to some distant headquarters where it helps to enrich some fat-cat CEO at the expense of the local community.

*** are two especially notable independent bookstores, because all of its owners, managers, and employees live in *** and *** counties. Therefore, *** returns 100% of its gross margin to its local community. Do not be fooled by the hype of one bookstore chain which says it is "family-owned". Sure it is, but the family that owns these 102 bookstores in 16 states (at latest count) lives the high life in Texas, and forbids their store managers to tell you their names!

As deceptive as this chain's advertising is, at least it pays its fair share of sales taxes and property taxes toward the support of our local schools, governments, and institutions. Internet booksellers, on the other hand, do not do even that much. Let us take as a case in point. This massive invader keeps its warehouse outside of California, located just over the line in Fernley, Nevada. It ships orders into California from there in order to help California buyers evade California sales tax. By this means it competes unfairly with bricks-and-mortar local bookstores such as *** that must, by California law, collect and pay sales tax over to the state on every sale.

Having no physical presence in California, Amazon also pays no property taxes, thus making no contribution at all to the communites from which it is sucking the dollars. It never contributes to local schools and charities, nor does it support local library events or host author events. ***, on the other hand, does all of these things. For its two locations, *** pays property taxes of more than $30,000 a year (in addition to paying rent to our landlords). The lion's share of this tax is used to support our schools, and the rest goes to pay for city and county services to all of us

There is one other aspect to consider: *** buys those of your books that it can resell, and recycles them and keeps them out of landfills. It donates massive quantities of books to charities such as Books for the Barrio (Phillipines), the Blue Star Moms (our boys in Afghanistan and Iraq) and Juvenile Halls (*** and ***). Do Amazon, Costco, Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Target, Safeway, and Borders do that? Nope. Do they recycle books? No again!

The bottom line is this: people need to think twice before going for the "bargain-priced" new book at a big box, a chain store, or online. Is the savings really worth it, or is the hidden cost too high? Do you want *** to thrive, or to wither and die? Would the community be better off, or worse off, without us? You will decide, and we will live or die, as the result of your decisions.


To Whom It May Concern;

My family of 4 and I have been long time *** Customers at your *** location. Over the past 8 years or so we have spent on average $100/month in your store purchasing various books, and audio books. It recently came to my attention that you had a website as well and I began browsing it. I must tell you that I was deeply embarrassed by your article, "Why ***?".
*** being a privately owned and operated business has a great deal of advantages for both the consumer and the community at large. From various things such as California taxes, to local charitable donations, as well as local community jobs, *** has a lot to offer the citizens and the community in which it lives.
However, when given the opportunity to praise these great local advantages, your management chose to slander larger retail stores such as Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. Over half of the article focused on the negatives of other companies, as opposed to the positives of a smaller local one. In the end it made *** sound like a whining self pitying teenager. I expect more from my local brick and mortar store, and I especially expect them to rise above the slanderous games that other companies play and show that even though they have to fight harder to stay in business, they do so with integrity.
I am hoping that this letter will find it's way to someone in the company with authority, as *** deserves a better "overview" for it's company. A company like *** thrives on it's customer service, local contributions, customer loyalty, and better understanding of the consumer at large today. Market these qualities and I will continue to support my smaller locally owned retail locations. If you join the "Big Boys" in their slanderous ways, what additional benefits do you really offer me? You've just become one of them.

Best Wishes,
Long time customer, Elaina
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