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Book sellers upset with Obama’s visit to Amazon, but there’s a good explanation

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By Doug Powers  •  August 1, 2013 02:45 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Some in the book selling community aren’t happy with President Obama’s focus on pushing Amazon:

President Obama’s Tuesday trip to an Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga, Tenn., has raised eyebrows (and hackles) in the bookselling community. Publisher’s Weekly ran a provocative story titled “Does President Obama Hate Indie Bookstores?” that called Obama’s visit “a slap in the face” to booksellers. In an open letter to the president, the board of the American Booksellers Association called his choice “greatly misguided.” It added, “The news this weekend that Amazon is slashing prices far below cost on numerous book titles is further evidence that it will stop at nothing to garner market share at the expense of small businesses that cannot afford to sell inventory below their cost of acquisition.”

As always, there’s at least one obvious explanation for why Obama is touting Amazon over others. Just follow the money:

So that’s how you land an exclusive interview with President Obama.

Employees of Amazon, which scored a coup by securing a rare one-on-one interview with the president for its journalism outlet Tuesday, donated more than $116,000 to Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

That’s more than four times as much as the roughly $25,000 that the Internet giant’s workers gave to Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Obama and Amazon also have a business relationship.

Not only does Amazon peddle Obama’s books, but its Amazon Web Services helped build the high-tech data storage and retrieval system for the Obama campaign’s get-out-the-vote operation.

Want your own presidential visit, indie bookstores? Pony up! And remember: You didn’t build that.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Barack Obama, Health care, New York Times, Paul Krugman