A new app that uses Amazon’s search function to find independent book stores hopes so.
Created to be easy to install and use right on your web browser, the app bookindy App, promotes independent book stores using the very site that is designed to put small book sellers out of business. The ingenious device, which installs directly to Chrome browsers, monitors your searches on Amazon and then finds the same book in local book shops. It even tells you how far you are from the nearest store and whether the book can be found for a lower price at a brick and mortar store.
The company’s slogan, “browse Amazon, buy independent” is designed to appeal to book lovers who are uncomfortable with Amazon’s practices of squeezing small publishers and shops out of the business. Whether buyers will be willing to give up the convenience of Amazon’s fast shipping and actually go to their nearest independent bookstore remains to be seen.
The new technology is part of a growing anti-Amazon movement that peaked last year with prominent authors weighing in on the well-publicized battle between Amazon and publishers like Hachette. This week fantasy author Ursula K Le Guin publicly bemoaned Amazon’s influence on the bookselling business and on the books that, by extension, get published and promoted.“Every book purchase made from Amazon is a vote for a culture without content and without contentment,” she wrote.
Audre Lorde’s quote about the master’s tools notwithstanding, consumer sentiment about buying local, combined with the brilliance of using Amazon’s search function to send consumers to their nearest book shop may prove to be the lifeline independent book stores need.