Last night, I was in my third hour of binge-watching The Bold Type when I stumbled upon an ad that made me do a double-take. The ad was for Amazon Storefronts, a section launched in 2018 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to sell products directly through Amazon. The video’s got upbeat music and a feel-good framework that is clearly trying to make you, dear reader, think that by shopping on Amazon, you are supporting small businesses.
The commercial opens on children’s book author Crystal Swain-Bates, introduced by the voiceover as the owner of Goldest Karat Publishing, “a small business on Amazon.” She shows us her books and tells us, “I love knowing that my books are normalizing black girl magic and brown boy joy.”
Yes! There absolutely is an alarming lack of diversity in children’s literature, and hers is a message we should all support.
But as we know, Amazon is no real friend to small businesses. They are the Fox Books to our Shop Around the Corner. They sabotage sales. They break embargoes, which really hurts independent booksellers.
Just to be clear: I’m all for Goldest Karat Publishing and Crystal Swain-Bates’ mission to fill the diversity gaps in children’s literature. I’m just saying you can (and should) purchase her titles directly on her website (or even on Bookshop, an alternative to Amazon that benefits independent booksellers).
Nice try, Amazon!