WHAT RICH PEOPLE DO WITH THEIR COUCH CUSHION MONEY
When I was a kid, I found a twenty dollar bill in the park. It seemed like a fortune. Not sure what I did with it. Probably bought some books.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, found $250 million in the cushions of his couch and bought a newspaper.
Make that a newspaper publisher.
Those that follow the business and publishing worlds were caught pretty much off guard this week this week when it was announced that Bezos had bought The Washington Post, the whole damn company.
Out of his own pocket.
The collective analysis seems to be: What the hell for?
The Post, like every other paper, is struggling. Bezos does know a thing or two about turning a profit out of a failing company. Amazon failed for years when it was first founded. Now it’s a global behemoth. A little Bezos-magic, if there is such a thing, might be a good shot in the arm for the foundering publishing industry.
A lot of people dislike Amazon. Oh, let’s not be coy, a lot of people really, actively, viscerally, with drool and spittle flying, HATE Amazon.
Even a lot of Amazon devotees hate Amazon. But, dammit, if they don’t offer good deals.
Amazaon a bully to other retailers by low-balling them with low prices, is often accused of declaring war on the publishing industry, and treating authors who have books to sell dubiously.
Still, all the reports make it very clear that the purchaser of the Post is NOT Amazon. It’s Bezos himself, who will be operating it as a privately held company, keeping, apparently, the existing management structure in place.
Does that fact make this more palatable to Amazon haters and/or Post lovers? I don’t know. It’s tempting to think Bezos will turn the venerable Washington Post into some sort of low-rent tabloid, turning a quick buck at the expense of quality journalism.
But we don’t know that. What we know is that the Post will continue to go on. That’s more than can be said for a lot of print papers these days. If we love that the Post gets to live, we gotta give Bezos a chance. The other choice is, what? Root for the Post to go down after eighty years just to stick it to Bezos?
I didn’t think so.
Go, Jeff, go.
We’re all counting on you.