Brick-and-mor­tar is the new coal

Re “Ama­ is a 21st cen­tury deal with the devil,” Opin­ion, June 4

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Are book stores and other brick-and-mor­tar re­tail­ers dif­fer­ent than the coal in­dus­try?

Just to es­tab­lish my cre­den­tials as a reader: I have read books just about con­tin­u­ously since my teenage years, and I’m 67. I buy a few books ev­ery month. How­ever, I do buy most books and lots of other prod­ucts on Ama­ It’s con­ve­nient, and I know whether the item is in stock (un­like, for ex­am­ple, in my lo­cal drug store).

So isn’t it up to the pub­lic to sup­port book­stores and other re­tail es­tab­lish­ments? And should these stores con­tinue to ex­ist if we find bet­ter and cheaper al­ter­na­tives?

The anal­ogy to the coal in­dus­try is by no means per­fect (book­stores don’t pol­lute). But Ama­zon, like re­new­able en­ergy, pro­vides an al­ter­na­tive that con­sumers pre­fer. Maya Levin­son

Los An­ge­les

Fi­nally, some­one has crawled out from un­derneath our ma­te­rial ex­cesses to wit­ness fur­ther so­ci­etal de­cline due to the “point and click” shop­ping men­tal­ity. I whole­heart­edly agree with Amy Koss about the “dev­il­ish” ef­fects of shop­ping on­line, the clos­ing of malls and stores and the re­sult­ing un­em­ploy­ment.

How­ever, Koss should have also men­tioned the ben­e­fits of get­ting out­side and en­gag­ing with the out­doors, the build­ings, the cloth­ing and the para­pher­na­lia, and with ac­tual hu­man be­ings. How many serendip­i­tous chats have I ex­pe­ri­enced look­ing at dresses, tchotchkes and daz­zling earrings?

It is per­haps no co­in­ci­dence that our cur­rent so­cial in­ter­ac­tions leave a lot to be de­sired. I be­lieve we are los­ing a lot more than we re­al­ize. Sandy Mishodek

Run­ning Springs, Calif.

Koss, for some strange rea­son, is wist­ful about the de­cline of mall cul­ture and squarely blames Ama­zon for its demise.

Ama­zon has done a lot of un­der­handed things, but it should be ap­plauded for has­ten­ing the elim­i­na­tion of those su­per-sized re­tail be­he­moths that are a blight on the land­scape and have made a week­end re­li­gion out of over-spend­ing on things none of us re­ally want or need.

To carp over Ama­zon’s cheaper prices, con­ve­nience and vast se­lec­tion is silly and mis­guided. We all need stuff, for bet­ter or worse, and as an au­thor, Ama­zon has been noth­ing short of a god­send. I have sold far more books with it than with­out it. Marc Wein­garten


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