Treat Amazon as a friend, not a foe

By Fred Shoaff, Columnist

Capitalism changed the lives of students all across the globe. Capitalism made learning infinitely more possible. Capitalism made it possible to have textbooks, reading accessible books, notebooks, Macbooks and so much more, delivered within hours. Capitalism changed more about colleges than colleges did themselves.

However, this column is not about capitalism. It’s about the capitalist of the modern-day world, Jeff Bezos, and his garage-conceived, trillion-dollar, world-changing company: Amazon.

Recently, according to The Selling Guys,  Amazon made the news by becoming the second U.S. company to reach a trillion-dollar market valuation. Plus, it recently debuted 15 new Alexa-enabled products that are as sure to sell as they are to control our lives.

However, just like when any other piece of Amazon news is released, there’s an army of naysayers who refuse to recognize the benefits of the company’s sprawling empire.

Now is the time to thank, rather than ridicule, Bezos’ company for making students’ lives run cheaper, faster and easier. Amazon became almost like an extremely helpful college adviser.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

I went to the Ikenberry Commons mail room the other day and was greeted by hundreds of smiles staring back at me. I wish I could say the employees managing the mail room accounted for at least some of the smiles, but alas, the warmest faces in the room were the boxes.

These smiley boxes, which provide the sustenance you need to satisfy your diet for learning, are constant reminders of the massive e-commerce footprint Amazon lays in college towns across America.

Of all the magical things that come out of these cheerful boxes, textbooks are the most common, especially during this time of year. And unlike the horrendously overpriced textbooks from the Illini Union Bookstore, textbooks from Amazon provide every bit of learning at a fraction of the price.

This is the basis of Bezos’ genius. He created an affordable market that undercuts Universities (and practically every other firm) to provide products to the masses at an affordable price.

Amazon changed college campuses by lowering prices. What a concept.

Diving into the student market has been genius for Amazon and its growth, as it now has special kiosks and memberships specifically for students. At a time when more people than ever are attending college, I’d say the market is a safe one in which to invest.

The Amazon brand is becoming particularly close-tied to universities. The fascinating Amazon@Illinois lockers at the Illini Union Bookstore are an ingenious service to provide for students and a clever way for Amazon to expose its services to more people.

For those who haven’t had the privilege of utilizing the Amazon delivery station at the bookstore, it is a remarkable experience. Simply typing in your order code will cause one of the lockers to open up, revealing whatever treasure Bezos endowed to you that day.

The immense market share of college products Amazon holds spells good tidings for its future. With time, the young population of Amazonians will continue to show the world why the company is a friend instead of a foe.

Since its humble beginnings as an online bookstore, Amazon worked to make learning accessible to all. The approach of creating a competitive market shows exactly why innovation comes from working to be better than competitors.

Capitalism wins again.

Fred is a freshman in Media.

[email protected]