The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Politics and Prose owners blast Bezos

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The owners of famed D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose, like everyone else in this country, have an opinion about the sale of The Post to founder Jeff Bezos. And to be sure, Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine have some crossover credentials that make them suitable commentators on this topic: They’re both former Post journalists and they own a brick-and-mortar bookstore.

With those credentials in tow, Graham and Muscatine blast away in an essay on the Politics and Prose Web site. Though they preface their remarks with their best wishes for the acquisition and end with a “welcome” to Bezos, they have their concerns:

[I]n the past two years, as stewards of another local cultural institution — Politics & Prose — we’ve routinely encountered a different version of Bezos. Indeed, among many independent booksellers he is perceived as a ruthless competitor bent on disrupting traditional retailers, including bookstores, without regard for the civic and commercial value that local bricks-and-mortar establishments still bring to neighborhoods around the country. Reflecting the unease with which booksellers view the Post sale, Shelf Awareness, a daily book industry blog, wrote: “For our part, all we can say is that for the people who have called us paranoid about Amazon’s plan for world domination, we rest our case — nervously.”

Further, the owners hammer Bezos for bad workplace conditions and other “questionable practices,” all on the way to saying that they have “difficulty sharing Don Graham’s confidence that the Amazon founder (a Washington outsider with no newspaper experience who plans to continue living in Seattle) will do the right thing and maintain the Post’s high journalistic standards and deep commitment to the DC area.”


Ann Patchett: I still don’t like Amazon. But I hope Jeff Bezos can save The Post.