If You Can’t Beat ‘Em

-by Nicole Sullivan April 1, 2021

In a year that saw revenue loss for nearly all independent businesses but revenue for Amazon was up a whopping 38% – during a pandemic and the biggest economic downturn we’ve seen since 2008 – we asked ourselves what we could possibly be doing wrong. We dug deep into Amazon business practices and decided to emulate them in order to not only survive but thrive! Big changes are coming to how BookBar does business on April 1, 2021. We think you’ll like what we’ve come up with.

So, we’re just going to do all the things. You might have noticed in the past few years how we’ve been expanding to new ventures; in addition to a bookstore, bar, and cafe, we added lodging for authors and booklovers a few years back. Last year we added publishing services (just like Amazon!) and a non-profit organization, BookGive. Next up – web services, grocery stores, shoes, and a full-service marketplace where we will pit our customers against one another to compete for sales (each others’ and ours) while borrowing their ideas for our own. We’ll add movies and T.V. shows and streaming services, a BookBar credit card where, instead of 10% of all books sales going to BookGive, we’ll just do 0.5% and call it good. It’s really the only way to get ahead. Look for BookBar car dealerships, hair salons, pet stores, and funeral services. Pet hair salons and pet funeral services? Why not?

With all of this revenue streaming in from so many varied sources, we can now sell books for next to nothing. Amazon often sells books for less than we can purchase them at wholesale. To borrow the example Danny Caine uses in How to Resist Amazon and Why, if someone purchased Where the Crawdads Sing when it was a new release from his bookstore, Raven, in Lawrence, Kansas, he would have just as well handed over $5 out of his register . So we’re just gonna do that. We’re just going to give you a few bucks if you want a new release title. That will save us all some time. We won’t have to order the book or take the time to sell it to you. You don’t have to take the time to read it. And you’ll have a few more dollars to your name. That’s how we win.

We’ve always respected our customers’ privacy and data. Well, we’re going to toss that philosophy into the wind. We’ll clearly never be one of the big dogs if we’re not using the information readily available to us, so we’ve decided to do a 180 and aggressively collect any and all data at our disposal in order to sell you more and more and more! Don’t mind us if we’re peeking over the bookshelves and jotting down notes as you browse. We’re just ‘dusting.’ No, ‘really.’ We see you picking up that Julia Alvarez book, turning it over, placing it back and then picking it up again. Well, can I interest you in a butterfly puzzle? How about a BookBar camera for your doorbell or in-home software that collects even more data that it feeds back to you in order to generate more sales? How do you even know what you want if we’re not there to tell you? If I were you, I would look behind your shower curtain because We. Are. Everywhere now.

Clearly our employees aren’t working to their full potential so once again, we’ve taken a look at what Amazon is doing to churn out orders so superhumanly fast. We’ll be fitting all BookBar staff with tracking devices to make sure they are always on the move. Restroom breaks, lunch breaks, heck – any breaks are a thing of the past in our new world. It’s all about productivity numbers. Speaking of numbers, our employee on the job injury rates have been abysmally low, like non-existent. That changes now. In the world according to Amazon (where warehouse injuries are double that of the industry average) no pain means no gain so we’ll work our employees harder and faster for your convenience. No need to thank us. You’re already welcome.

In order to increase our brand awareness and become ubiquitous, we’ll just take it from here on shipping. Fed-Ex, UPS, USPS largely offer good-paying, regulated, union jobs. We’ll rely on them to get your books and gifts from across the country safely and humanely, but then once those goods get to Denver, we’ll do the rest. We have been offering free delivery via BookBike Mike within the 80211 and 80212 zip codes since last March. When everything shut down we wanted to provide a safe and planet-friendly option of getting books to our customers, many of whom were quarantining and couldn’t even take advantage of our curbside window service. Because it is such a popular service, BookBar co-owner, Ryan, heads out several times a week in rain or shine. He and the guy who rides the penny farthing around North Denver often exchange knowing nods to one another. This may be quaint but progress awaits so we’ll be delivering anywhere and tossing anything haphazardly onto your porch before dashing off to the next house. This will increase crime, of course, since more people, hurting from the pandemic, will help themselves to your goods just sitting out there in the open. So you’d better get one of our cameras to help combat the opportunities we’re creating (see what we did there?) I say ‘our’ and ‘we’ but Ryan’s gonna hang up his helmet and we’ll just bring in third-party employees (better to not have to pay them as much or offer any kind of benefits.) We’ll also get much larger, motorized bikes- but not so big that they will be subject to Department of Transportation regulations, of course, because we’re not dummies! Regulation is ‘spensive.

Look, I know we’ve been touting our personalized, professional, and knowledgeable customer service for years. Our expert booksellers, who have immense passion for books, are great and all, but, let’s be honest, having a conversation with EVERY SINGLE customer about what books they like to read and what books we like to read and what type of books they might be looking for isn’t very efficient. Knowing our inventory to match book to customer is taxing. From now on, we’ll be relying solely on algorithms for book recommendations and we’ll be implementing a strict disciplinary structure for any employee who even attempts to have a conversation about books. They will be advised to use our new Book Rekommatic (patent pending) tool to pull up customers’ previous purchases, combined with their address, last 5 tweets and Instagram likes, favorite meal, if they part to the side or center, and other proprietary information to reveal to them what book they should read next. The best thing about the new Book Rekommatic? It will eventually be able to skip right past time intensive ‘recommendations’ and put the book it has picked for you right into your cart and complete the purchase process for you. You don’t even have to think about it. Your book shopping is done. And now all of our staff can be reduced and replaced by third-party employees (see above about fair pay and benefits).

Taxes? Yeah. We’re just not going to pay them anymore. We’re also going to greatly reduce the flow of our revenue that goes back into our community. Donating to local school fundraisers, our favorite customers’ favorite causes, non-profit partners, that’s all for suckers. There is no room for any of that any longer ’cause look at us! We’re getting ahead and becoming a multi-national corporation. Community Schommunity we say. Seriously, our founder doesn’t even own a single mansion with a single private ballroom. Yet.

Seriously, thanks to Danny Caine for the inspiration

and Jeff Bezos for the content.