Indie bookstores around the country are joining in a “David vs. Goliath” style campaign against Amazon, thanks to a partnership between DCX Growth Accelerator and the American Booksellers Association called the #BoxedOut campaign.
You might remember DCX as the group behind the Payless Shoes prank on social media influencers two years ago. This time, they’ve poured their creative genius into spreading the message about the role Amazon plays in the current plight of independent booksellers, according to T. I . Stanley in AdWeek.
“For the booksellers’ nonprofit trade group, DCX has taken over the storefronts of indie shops in New York; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles, wallpapering them with cut-to-the-quick messages like, ‘Our WiFi is free—please don’t use it to make a $1.6 trillion company even richer,’ and, ‘Books curated by real people, not a creepy algorithm.’”
“Not only are the windows of the stores covered in brown cardboard, but there are also boxes of varying sizes spilling onto the sidewalks,” Stanley continues, explaining that the materials are “Amazon-like, not Amazon-branded, but the comparison is unmistakable. Those also contain snarky Twitter-worthy slogans such as, ‘Buy books from people who want to sell books, not colonize the moon’ and reimagined titles from classic literature like, ‘Little Women Who Own Bookstores And Are Getting Priced Out By Giant Warehouse Retailers’ and “‘o Kill a Locally Owned Bookstore.’”
The campaign is garnering media attention; just as importantly it’s gaining the attention of their target audience — well-read book buyers who are in a position to support the 2500 or so indie bookshops in this country. And the message is clear: The excessive use of Amazon for “convenience” is adding to the pain of pandemic shutdowns and putting indie shops in jeopardy.
“People may not realize the cost and consequences of ‘convenience’ shopping until it’s too late,” Allison K. Hill, CEO of the ABA, said in a statement. “Closed indie bookstores represent the loss of local jobs and local tax dollars, the loss of community centers, and the loss of opportunities for readers to discover books and connect with other readers.”
The campaign is noteworthy on several levels, including the speed at which it came together (about three weeks total) and the DIY-nature of the displays being erected at stores in key cities around the country. It continues to gain exposure, especially now as news of anti-trust violations among the “big four” makes headlines.
I support #BoxedOut wholeheartedly, and I believe the indie bookshop is an iconic and much-loved piece of our culture that deserves saving. So I’ll be loading up on books for holiday giving this year, purchased from local shops that deserve our business.