A couple of our most respected peers--Lambda Rising, A Different Light, and the store that served as the model and parent of our store, Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop--have retired from the scene and now only one corporate behemoth--Barnes & Noble--remains in the bricks-and-mortar book business.
So we are either the biggest fools in the world to attempt to do what our peers have already tried and failed to do, even in the teeth of direct competition with multi-billion dollar, multinational corporations, or we are going to be extremely lucky to have entered the marketplace at the moment when the only people who know as much about our subjects as we do have retired from the scene and our only competition are a couple of obtuse conglomerates that are already losing money faster than they can borrow it.
You, dear Reader, will decide by your orders whether you want us in the marketplace or not. If you choose us, then we will get much better than we are now--and we are already much better than anyone else in this virtual marketplace.Predatory competitors flood our culture with their advertising, so that many of our customers and potential customers are misled into believing that they can get more value from Barnes & Noble and amazon.com. From Amazon's birth it has not been concerned about profit, only about expanding its market share--that is, pushing its competition out of the market place. So its strategy is to sell as much as necessary at or below cost. Its stockholders don't care about profit as long as Amazon continues to make progress toward driving all other booksellers out of business and having all the publishers as its subsidiaries.
Some years ago--2000--its site proclaimed, "Take pride in your history!" not "in our history," but then once you saw what they offered in "Queer History" you'll understand why they distanced themselves from our history.
"Queer History" is divided into "Gay History" and "Lesbian History", each with 25 titles.
1. In the gay list is Gay Metropolis, which they offered at $27. They didn't tell you there's a paperback edition at $14, nor did they tell you that their $27 edition had been remaindered and you could buy it at Giovanni's Room for $7.85.
2. Though there are only 25 titles in the gay history list, one of those titles is the 1995 fundamentalist rant, Straight or Narrow? which maintains that we are all going to hell--and amazon's readers/critics liked the book.
3. Though there was a separate lesbian history list, the gay list included Lillian Faderman's To Believe in Women at $30 (full price and with no mention of the paperback at $15) and Diane Middlebrook's Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton. Not that gay men don't enjoy both books, but neither has any gay content.
4. For no reason other than the author's first name, the gay list includes Gay Talese's Unto the Sons, about the history of his family since World War II.
5. Amazon.com's June 2000 gay list does not include Marc Stein's City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945 - 1972 (U of Chicago, June 2000), nor Martin Duberman's Stonewall, nor K.J. Dover's Greek Homosexuality (Harvard, 1989), nor Louis Crompton's Byron and Greek Love, nor any of hundreds of other titles Giovanni's Room carries in gay history.
6. The lesbian history list includes John Boswell's Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe and Eve Sedgwick's Between Men, each of which has zero lesbian content.
7. Their knowledge is so quickly exhausted that they include among their 25 titles in lesbian history the 1994 book, The 100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians, by Ed Mickens.
8. Amazon.com's list does not include either volume of Blanche Wiesen Cook's biography of Eleanor Roosevelt or Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Nor Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952 - 1964: The Story of a Remarkable Friendship. Nor Karla Jay's Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation, a New York Times Notable Book. Nor any of the other hundreds of titles Giovanni's Room carries in lesbian herstory. Not to mention the hundreds of books we carry in transgender studies.
9. In video, we have It's Elementary for sale at $49.95, which you'll need to order by email or phone, but amazon.com has no listing at all for this very important educational film for teaching lesbian and gay issues to elementary school children.
So Giovanni's Room does offer you more value than the superstores and the e-commerce behemoths. Please reward our efforts!