Friends, readers, Washingtonians, lend me your ears. I come not to praise Amazon, but to bury it.
In the year of our Lord, 2018, we faced challenges great and small — friends and allies of ours faded away (R.I.P. Riverby Books), and our mortal enemy announced plans to build a new base just across the river in Crystal City. Meanwhile, the floors of our fair store steadily sank beneath the weight of the wisdom contained in the 50,000 volumes stacked upon our shelves. Perhaps most sinister of all, the buffet at the nearby Sizzling Express — our lifeblood — now closes early on Sundays.
And yet, as I stand here today, the state of our bookstore has never been stronger.
We recently kicked off Infrastructure Week by adding supports to the joists that undergird our mighty book collection. We obtained boxes and boxes of post-structuralist tomes from a secret location in suburban Maryland. The store went through a peaceful regime change for the first time in decades. Finally, our sales have never been better.
This is not, however, the time to let our guard down. We know all too well that just four miles away at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, sit scores of philistines who despise our way of life and have absurdly been granted immense power. In D.C., property taxes soar ever higher and we must not only compete with similar enterprises, but with luxury condos and Sephora. Perhaps most unsettling, Amazon’s minions are overnighting thousands upon thousands of volumes of Rupi Kaur poetry, not to melancholy 14-year-olds, but to actual adults who claim to be inspired by her words.
But I will tell you this, readers: we will not go gentle into that good night. We will rage against the dying of the light! When Amazon’s drones hover above this fair city, we will climb to the rooftops, slingshots in hand! We will marshal an army of loyal readers against the homogenization of our neighborhoods by the bourgeois banality of developers! And finally, in 2019, we call upon all independent bookstores in D.C. to unite under the banner of D.C. statehood!