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ABA Calls Obama’s Amazon Warehouse Visit “Misguided,” Asks President to Share Ideas, Coffee With Indies

In an open letter to Pres. Barack Obama, ABA members are criticizing the president’s decision to make a speech from an Amazon warehouse today and inviting him to have a conversation with independent booksellers.

“For you to highlight Amazon as a job creator strikes us as greatly misguided,” the booksellers say in a letter signed by ABA President Steve Bercu, ABA CEO Oren Teicher and nine others.

Ahead of Obama’s planned visit to the warehouse in Chattanooga, TN, Amazon announced it was adding 5,000 jobs. But the jobs pay about $11 an hour, which, as USA today points out, would put a full-time worker with a family of four at about the federal poverty level.

In their letter, the booksellers say Amazon had “flouted sales tax laws,” engaged in anti-competitive pricing and hurt local businesses.

All told, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, every $10 million in spending that shifts from Main Street retailers to Amazon results in a net loss of 33 retail jobs. That would mean for 2012 alone — using Amazon’s own numbers about its increase in sales — Amazon cost the U.S. economy more than 42,000 jobs just last year!

The letter concludes:

Conversely, the value of a local business to its community cannot be overstated — whether through job creation or in the myriad ways it gives back to the community.

We would love to continue this timely and important conversation with you. We’ll bring together a group of real job creators to meet at your favorite local, independent bookstore! And we’ll buy the coffee!