Monday, November 03, 2008

The perks of a mail-order world

I'm normally not a big fan of Amazon—I liked them better when books were all they did, and I can't deny the pressure they exert on local independent booksellers. A perfect world would be "Amazon and," as in Amazon.com and your favorite local bookstore, but I'm not sure that such a world is possible in the way I would like it to be. (In all honesty, however, I have to admit that I'm able to resist Amazon in large part because of a long-term relationship with my own local bookseller which makes their prices competitive with or better than Amazon's, but also means that I'm not offering the maximum possible economic benefit to my local bookseller.)

However, I'm very enthusiastic about Amazon's new "Frustration-Free Packaging" initiative. Easy-to-open + less packaging waste + shipping-ready means I'm happy, the environment is happy, Amazon is happy, everybody wins. Retail packaging is insane, and while I understand the impossible competing demands of security and visual item marketing require a transparent-as-possible package that is as difficult as possible to open in order to defeat shoplifters. Amazon's mail-based warehouse-to-customer delivery system bypasses both of those needs, and they deserve a great deal of praise for taking the initiative to eliminate a great deal of useless and wasteful packaging.

Of course, interestingly, books are a primary exception to this wasteful packaging rule, especially if, like me, you keep all of your dust jackets. Thus, in a sense, I can have my cake and eat is too. I keep buying my packaging-free books from my local bookstore, and I order more retail items from Amazon than I currently do. Everyone really does win.

1 comment:

Stop Smoking said...

Good to hear that they are finally making unpacking easier for the customer - and at the same time creating less of a burden on the environment. Let's hope that other companies will follow that lead.