What world do you want to shape?

1.

I’m choosing to write this post because I’m afraid to. I’m fearful Amazon could get wind of it and yank the buy buttons from my books. Staying silent about what bothers me so I won’t get hassled — that hit me hard. That is not the world I want to contribute to shaping.

2.

You might not know or care that Amazon is involved in a tussle with one of the big publishers, Hachette, over various pricing issues and have removed buy buttons or pre-order buttons from their titles. It’s not that important in itself except that it calls attention to the kind of company Amazon is — read this Guardian article (thanks, Jeffrey) — and the kind of world we are contributing to shaping by buying from Amazon.

3.

“What kind of world do you want to contribute to shaping?” ~Hiro Boga

I’m at Hiro’s house, writing, eating incredible love-drenched food, talking life, and dancing. We were talking over dinner about our friend Jeffrey’s 30-day challenge to not buy from Amazon (great post!) when Hiro said, “What kind of world do you want to contribute to shaping?” What a generative question – rather than focus on what I don’t want Amazon to be, focus on what I want. That made me sit up tall. She’s so wise and generous!

4.

I want to contribute to an Amazon and a world that pays employees and suppliers a living wage or price and treats them with fairness; where the environment is taken into consideration in the whole supply and delivery process; where profits are not the ultimate factor; where the big picture isn’t about how big you can get but how much wholeness you can create.

In the world I want to help shape, cheap and fast are not the benchmarks of happiness.

5.

It’s not about Amazon or Hatchette or whatever company you like to diss; it’s not about demonizing anybody! It’s about working for the whole. And of course, you and I are each part of that whole and must take care of ourselves, too. Sometimes that means doing business with companies we don’t love — after all, I buy gas and drive a car (a low-emission, high-mileage car but still). It’s also not about hiding in resignation and personal comfort because we can’t be perfect at creating the world we want.

6.

To quote Hiro again, “What kind of world do you want to contribute to shaping?”

Thanks to Jeffrey for getting me thinking and thanks to you for reading,

Jen

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LuAnn Braley - June 24, 2014

I worked at an Amazon warehouse one Christmas season. It was a nightmare. The first full shift I had to use my hands to lift my legs into my van to drive home because I could not pick my feet up off the floor. I cried walking from the vehicle into our house.

We were hired from various temp agencies with the same “some jobs will become permanent after the season” *ahem* stuff. We had to organize ourselves at the time clocks (there was a whole wall full of them) in order to all get checked in during that one minute as to not be considered ‘late’.

It was nice to have any money coming in at that time, but my father worked a job he hated and he died from stress at the age of 47. I was (and am) determined not to go down that way. I’ve got three children, and if they wind up getting married, I want to dance barefoot at each of their weddings! :O)

Reply
    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    i hear your determination!!! LuAnn may it be so.

    Reply
Brook McCarthy - June 24, 2014

Fantastic post! And I love the reminder that we are all shaping our world, through our everyday purchasing decisions. Too many of us choose to look the other way. So many of us think that these things aren’t important. But we’re all able to influence big business should enough of us give enough care to change where we spend our dollars.

Reply
    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    it’s hard to use our dollars wisely isn’t it? but the best way to vote in this strange world we find ourselves in.

    Reply
A Lee - June 25, 2014

Thanks for this post. I had heard about Hatchette. The problem for
Amazon is that in this case they look like they are bullying because
they are the big profitable corporation with so many customers. It’s
like holding the smaller publisher hostage. But the problem is really
that anything Amazon does trickles down to the authors and writing is a
difficult process. In some ways, this mirrors the problem for
musicians. I suspect that what would be better for Amazon is to look at
their producers fairly because that’s what we try to teach our
children. On the other hand, because I mentioned this case to my
daughter (now a teen), I found out that many authors with whom she is
currently familiar come from Hatchette. Also, we went to their website
and found some of their children’s book authors and identified some
great books for my new nephew who celebrates his birthday quite shortly
after Xmas. (I need quite a few gifts right at that point.) So, even
though Amazon looks bad here, the good outcome is that I discovered new
books from a great small publisher and I supported my local small
bookstore by buying 2 books from them. I will continue to use Amazon
but I too hope that they will follow a more thoughtful, fair path.

Reply
    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    well said A!

    Reply
Sandra Pawula - June 25, 2014

This really gives us food for thought, Jen. Especially for writers who are trying to make a go with their book or e-book. Do you have any chance if you take your book off Amazon? And you probably don’t have a choice if you have a publisher.

I think it’s so important to think about what kind of world we want to shape. But, then we need to consider taking action instead of following the easy path.

Reply
    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    no i wouldn’t try or want my books off Amazon, which of course, is a weird thing to say, and super indicative of how interconnected we all are. i just don’t want to throw up my hands and say, “well they sell my books and I then make a dollar a book so I might as well buy from them too.”

    Reply
      Sandra Pawula - June 27, 2014

      I fully understand. Your post has really stirred the pot for me and also a discussion on my personal Facebook page. Thanks for being so brave.

      Reply
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