Back in February George Packer wrote a feature story for The New Yorker about Amazon and the status of books as just another commodity. Amazon’s current annual revenue from book sales stands at $5.25 billion, which is seven percent of the company’s overall $75 billion in profits.
Packer writes that “Amazon sells a bewildering array of products: lawnmowers, iPods, art work, toys, diapers, dildos, shoes, bike racks, gun safes, 3-D printers.” The site’s huge selection and abundance of unbeatable deals attract consumers the world over.
I love Amazon. It’s where I buy most of my books. They are cheaper and ship fast, sometimes for free after I add to my cart a pack of smiley face boxer shorts I don’t really need.
But I hold books in higher esteem than lawnmowers or gun safes. Call me naïve, but I cherish ideas, placing them above profit margins. Of course authors, publishers and Amazon disagree. Everything, I know, has a price. Nothing transcends the marketplace.
Below I’ve included a ranking, from most to least precious, of what I value in this world. It’s the exact list formulated by the ancient Greeks, composed, no doubt, on a tablet:
- Flat Screen TVs