Sponsored by Blackout by Marc Elsberg.
Here’s the difference between the new and proliferating Amazon Bookstores and every other brick-and-mortar bookstore that has ever existed to this point: booksellers. I don’t mean this as hyperbole, as in “independent booksellers are better than the people who work at Amazon Bookstores,” I mean this literally. Amazon does not believe in, value, or finance the hiring, training, and development of booksellers. This is not a judgment. I don’t foresee Amazon’s model as one that has the power to supplant the value that booksellers bring to their communities and to the larger literary ecosystem, but I also think it’s naïve to discredit a model that has to this point progressed without hindrance to a position of unprecedented and unparalleled dominance in the industry.
Amazon’s 45% discount on its popular Prime membership—$5.99 a month instead of $10.99—is available to U.S. residents who are receiving government assistance via an EBT (Electronic Transfer Benefits) card. Holders of EBT cards can apply here for the discount, though they’ll have to re-qualify each year, for up to four years, according to Recode. It’s unclear whether they’d still be eligible after the four-year period.
Using the “magic” of RFID and other very real, very existing technologies, founder proprietor Matt Cortland is launching a Kickstarter campaign on June 26th to raise half a million dollars to open The Cauldron Wizarding Pub & Inn in London, “a wizarding pub and tech lab where we use science, technology, and design to bring the magic described in fantasy books to life in an interactive experience.”