Should Libraries Be Replaced by Amazon Bookstores?


Should public libraries be replaced by consumer bookstores?

A Forbes Magazine article suggested that libraries 'don’t have the same value they used to' and that Amazon Bookstores should replace public libraries


A recent article in Forbes written by Panos Mourdoukoutas, a professor at LIU Post in New York has fans of the library system riled up. The piece claims that public libraries don't have the same value they used to and cost taxpayers too much money. It also claims that the rise of Amazon, Netflix, and Starbucks, has made the public library irrelevant.  “The move would save taxpayers money and enhance the stockholder value of Amazon all in one fell swoop” according to Mourdoukoutas.

Would a private company like Amazon or other consumer bookstores such as Barnes & Noble be able to offer more value to the public than a public library? Taxes that would go to the public library system could potentially be picked up by a company instead.

Libraries offer services that help many citizens, rich or poor, with free internet, a place to apply for jobs, resources for research, a community space for meetups, and so much more. 

I personally think that in an information-based society, why would anyone "choose" to do without access to information? What about the small towns in the United States that won't get an Amazon Bookstore because their town doesn't have enough people to sustain one? As a father of 2 kids, I feel that there are some kids out there that may never read a book outside of school if there wasn't a place like a library to hang out at and discover random books. Not to mention, many books wouldn't see the light of day if they had to compete in a retail bookstore. What happens if you needed a place to study? Would a retail bookstore allow you to spend all day there without buying a cup of coffee?

If people have smartphones and e-readers now why would they need paper books anymore? Well, did you know that you can borrow e-books from the public library?

In Texas, for about every tax dollar spent on public libraries, approximately $4.64 is pumped back into the economy. Some libraries even offer workshops for the public, a space for meetings, a fun environment for children to be around books, magazines, movies, just to name a few things.  

Many famous people in history got their start at a library. President Abraham Lincoln spent much of his life at a library where he educated himself. 

Sometimes, a quiet area that's free to use beats trying to get any work done while sitting around the dining room table.

Let's not forget that borrowing books from a public library is a whole lot cheaper than having to buy the same textbooks from a consumer bookstore. You don't have to be an economics expert to see that.