You’ve already beat them, why not join them?

An open letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Dear Jeff, or, if I may, el Jefe:

Friends tell me I’m foolish to offer this idea to you, gratis, but I’m thinking that in your wisdom—and all that data you’ve been collecting on us—you’ve already thought of this.

You need to open Amazon Indie Bookstore in a neighborhood near me. While it may seem weirdly anachronistic to you, immersed as you are in artificial intelligence and algorithms that I couldn’t possibly understand, it entirely makes sense.

This is what you do: Buy up some former big box retail warehouses that have been shuttered because of—how do I put this delicately?—Amazon. On the front end of these stores, you’d have an awesome bookstore that would actually sell the books that Amazon Publishing publishes (we both know that no one else seems to want them)—and on the back end, you’d have one of your “fulfillment centers”—more on that lovely euphemism in a moment—where you could get me and other Prime customers our merchandise pronto, like today. And stocking it should be no problem, since you’re already reading our minds.

Not far from me, there’s a Loehmann’s that is no longer. All that empty space, just waiting for the Amazon Book Store and fulfillment center. The shopping center is called Loehmann’s Plaza. Just think of it: Amazon Plaza. Don’t tell me you don’t like it. And surely you know that where I live, in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, we’re in the middle of one of the best read areas in the country. Seems to me you also own a newspaper or some such thing hereabouts. Just spitballing the synergies here.

And you really do need to humanize Amazon, el Jefe. Make it approachable. Maybe the bookstore itself would be a wash, but just think of people like me, a stone’s throw away, coming to pick up all that stuff I really don’t need, but could not pass up. You don’t need drones or UPS or FedEx. You’ve got us, already drones, already here, ready to buy and pick up.


And about that fulfillment center thing. Personally, I hate the term “wellness center.” Wellness is, well, all well and good, but I want fulfillment, and I’m not talking about packing up stuff and shipping it out—but you knew that.

A fulfillment center could be so much more. Think of it: In a fulfillment center everyone would be in the moment and in a Zen-like state of pure flow. Even saying fulfillment comes close to nirvana. Glass not just full but overflowing. Golden, heavenly light. Which seems not to be the case with many of your fulfillment center employees. That’s another story, but think about it. Bookstore near me. Real fulfillment.