UnknownIn the audio clip attached to the previous post, Sarah McNally speaks movingly of the morality of purchasing decisions (about 15½ minutes in). She buys nothing (virtually nothing) on-line, largely because she wants to support local businesses who provide the taxes to keep our communities going. I was startled to hear her say that McNally-Jackson on Prince Street pays more than $60,000 in real estate taxes annually. This is a significant contribution to the schools, parks, garbage pick-up, road repair, policing etc. of our city. And there’s Sales Tax too. Spend these dollars on-line and you know that any tax being paid (in the news today Luxembourg is in trouble for facilitating tax avoidance/minimization for multi-nationals) is not going to your neighborhood.

Will I be doing this? To some extent I already do, though one has to travel ever farther in Manhattan to find a bookstore. I wouldn’t buy a new book from Amazon — but of course, being in the business, publishing people tend to be addicted to getting at least a courtesy trade discount on our purchases. I do buy second-hand books from Amazon — or at least in this context, from Amazon’s 3rd-party sellers. As Hugh Howey says in that same audio, many of the 3rd-party sellers depend on Amazon’s reach for their success, and I guess some of them might even turn out to be in your local community. I also buy e-books from Amazon — generally off the Kindle Daily Deal (see above re discount addiction) but though it’s possible, I guess, to buy an e-book at a bookstore, I’ve never been aware of being in a bookstore where this service was offered (I don’t have a Nook, so don’t count B&N here).

The Retail Merchants Association has a website Think. Shop. Buy. Local. I assume, but wonder if I’m right, that the local branch of Best Buy, say, is more “local” in a taxation sense than Amazon. I guess it’s not as local as the corner television shop — but when did you last see one of them?


* Well; locavore was OUP’s word of the year in 2007, formed from the Latin verb vorare, to devour. So can’t I substitute the word for reader? This seems to me to be right up OUP’s alley — dare one hope? Of course it’s a bit wrong: I really need the Latin for book purchaser since localector sounds a little like someone only reading books about their local community. Localiberemptor sounds too clunky to win.