I was listening to MSNBC a few days ago and heard that U.S. employment took a big hit recently. Immediately I wondered what industry had now been exported to China. If you thought this too, we both would have been mistaken. No, this latest drop in employment didn’t come from manufacturing but from a source that many of us don’t think of when we think employment. Jobs in this sector are ones that we kind of take for granted as this field employs mostly kids right out of high school, moms with school age kids and, most recently, people who have lost their factory jobs to outsourcing.
What blew my mind is that 60,000 jobs have been lost here in just a few months. This is more that ALL the coal mining jobs lost or even those employed that have been so much talked about of late. No this huge number of jobs were lost in retail. You know those mall stores?
The retail industry like J.C. Penny and Sears have been hit not by exporting them exporting jobs to China but by—wait for it—Amazon. Yes Amazon, that totally American success story that everyone loves.
Online shopping is replacing the shopping malls as people are no longer go there to shop. Instead, from their computer or mobile device, they just bring up Amazon, clink on what they want to buy and it’s delivered to their front door in as little as two days. If a person has Amazon Prime, it’s even easier—2 day shipping is free.
So what does this have to do with publishing? Not very much beyond everything. Have you looked around lately? Bookstores have been closing for years. Bookstores were affected by what clothing and even appliance retailers are now having to deal with YEARS AGO. Amazon is the largest bookstore in the world and yet, just the other day an author told me she was going to do a book signing in an actual bookstore. Why?
All I can say is it takes a while to get one’s head around the new ways of marketing. Don’t be surprised, in fact, if old types of marketing like newspaper, radio and even TV appearances don’t do much, or anything, to spark your book sales. Most readers don’t watch TV or listen to book news on radio. Readers read, so you might have to go where the majority of readers go. Amazon, anyone?