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Should Amazon book stores replace LI libraries?

Customer Jeff Edward, left, talks with Amazon employee

Customer Jeff Edward, left, talks with Amazon employee Sarah Gelman as Edward shops at the opening day for Amazon Books, the first brick-and-mortar retail store for the online retail giant on Nov. 3, 2015 in Seattle. Credit: AP

A Long Island University professor suggested just that in a piece published by Forbes but later removed from its website. Panos Mourdoukoutas, who also serves as chairman of the economics department at LIU Post, provoked strong responses on Twitter when he suggested that Amazon stores should replace local libraries.

Steve Dalton, who tweeted that he's served on the Levittown Public Library board for nine years, responded by saying that libraries offer much more services than “just a building that houses books.”

In the op-ed, which was taken down days after its initial posting, Mourdoukoutas argued that libraries aren’t needed because community events can be held in school auditoriums, coffee places such as Starbucks offer places to relax and read, and video streaming services such as Netflix have replaced video rentals. The technology of digital books has eliminated the need for physical books and the need for library borrowing services, he said.

People could use the money saved on library taxes to buy books and services from Amazon, he said.

"Forbes advocates spirited dialogue on a range of topics, including those that often take a contrarian view," said a statement by Forbes after the publication removed the URL for Mourdoukoutas' piece. "Libraries play an important role in our society. This article was outside of this contributor’s specific area of expertise, and has since been removed."

Tell us: Should Amazon book stores replace Long Island libraries?

We are no longer accepting submissions.


jeanne dechico, medford

Absolutely, the time has come to consider phasing in a program that would move reading into the digital age.

Richard Craig, Calverton

Amazon should not replace Long Island Libraries

William James Rudd, Bellport

Public libraries fill an essential need for those who would do without access to books because of socioeconomic status.

Theresa Bailey, Bayport

Instead of telling people to pay more money to Amazon for their books and movies, tell them to use the library that is...

Saleena Chiu, Lake Grove


Annette and thomas Kattau, East Patchogue

Visit the Amazon bookstore in Manhattan and prepare to be underwhelmed by its lack of selection and seating and frustrated...

Stefanie Nelkens, Plainview

I would be very upset if my library closed.

Barbara McCahill, Stony Brook

It simply cannot and will not offer the same breadth of free services as our public libraries

Douglas Vandewinckel, East Northport

I pay taxes for the common good - and I can think of no higher good than the level playing field of a library.

Linda M Davies, Huntington

NO! Absolutely NOT!!!

Angelina McKenna , Southold

The activities for toddlers and young children help parents connect with others in the community.

Donna Fitzgerald, North Babylon

This sounds like an April Fool's joke.

Vivian deGeorges, Sound Beach

They should stop in and visit, and see what they're missing.

Patricia Aitken , Calverton

Libraries are antiquated and uneccesary and very very expensive.

David Adler, Syosset

I do not want to live in a Amazon world.

Alfred Rodia, Cutcchogue

Amazon & Bezos should start paying their fair share of taxes to fund libraries and other public institutions instead of...

Joe Tronolone, Islip

Not everyone can afford to buy books.

Tiffany Robilotta , Mastic Beach

Are you saying that now only those with disposable income have the right to read a book because they can purchase one?

Eileen Panico, Ronkonkoma

There is no replacement for our library system.

Gary Book, Port Washington

Save all those tax dollars. Libraries are antiquated

Jen crean , East Islip

Why not have Amazon replace the defunct Borders Book Store?

Philip A Kaufman, Forest Hills

It not just books and videos.

Patrick Tierney, West Babylon

Amazon is also an incredible resource, but I don't like that it is invading so many aspects of our lives.

Deborah Frueh, Northport

Libraries are obsolete. The internet could and should replace them.

Al Esposito, Commack, NY

Maybe Amazon could fund local libraries by paying their taxes!

Mark Kimoto, Plainview


Gloria Mason, Lindenhurst

Not only no, but hell no.

Art James, Massapequa

I use the library for the latest fad diet books.

Charles Kelleher , Rockville Center

My kids love going to the library. Would Amazon offers us all their books for free?

Belinda Mak, Westbury

We offer genealogy research, cultural and entertainment programs, concerts virtual reality play and much more.

Janet, Steiniger

Here in West Hempstead, our library is also our community space.

Regina Mascia, West Hempstead

Sorry, Amazon can't fill every role.

Lisa Szambel, Wantagh

What a terrible idea.

Stacey harrington, Island park

All you need to do is go see what your library has to offer, besides silly books

Tim Harnett, Middle Island

I'll take the money I save from not using Amazon and spend it on library taxes

John Usher, yaphank

I would rather pay a library tax to support dedicated professionals than to fill the coffers of one company.

Mary Anne Grabowski, Glen Cove

The range of programs and services might just open his eyes -- and as someone employed in the district that might even give...

Stuart Horowitz, Huntington Station, NY

Great idea to lower taxes.

Craig Bruno, Islip

Libraries are the heart of a community!

Karen Stealey, MASSAPEQUA

You can’t replicate the intellectual and educational functions the library provides in the shopping center.

David Zielenziger , Great Neck

The taxes we pay for our libraries are but a small part of our tax bill.

Margaret P. Reilly, glen cove

Some people can't afford 3 for a Starbuck coffee or 11 for Netflix.


Not sure the public is ready to ditch local libraries.

Randal Schultz, Blue Point

You reach more readers with more books by utilizing a lending library than by making them all buy every book separately.

Sorin Stana, Centereach

Digital technology is great, but can not replace the joy of knowng that thousands of books are available to you free of...

Kristine Chayes, Smithtown

Many people still use the library for archives of our past.

Kathy Peranzo , East Meadow

There are many financially disadvantaged individuals that do not have the means to purchase a device to digitally read a book.

Michael Fried, Cedarhurst NY

Anyone who would propose such an idea, clearly has not been to a library lately.

Bob Riley, Kings Park

Privatizing has always proven to be a disaster.

Chris Martin, Smithtown

I hope replacing my library with an Amazon store never happens!

Linda Villano, Bohemia

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future. –Ray Bradbury

Drew Biondo, Port Jefferson

The motive here is not profit: it's serving the public.

Clay Wade, Bellport

Libraries serve as more than a holding place for books and many community events

Michael Sprintz, East Meadow, NY

The free public library system provides competition to the “for profit” book sellers.

Wayne Schoenbrun , Montauk

Libraries are excellent resources for all kinds of services

Nicholas C Apostolico, Holbrook

Instead of Amazon taking over they should give money to the libraries so taxes should be lower.

Ed Draizen, Manorville NY 11949

I know 1 person that still uses the library

Angela ODonnell, Bethpage, NY

Incredibly naive

Nicoletta Daum, Centereach

[I] frequently use library as retreat.

Lynn Millet, Farmingdale

Amazon is not an acceptable alternative.

MJ Jones, Coram


Michael Meltzer, Stony Brook

I think Amazon should join with libraries.

Susan Britt, Glen Cove

LIU Post should demand his resignation immediately.

Wendy Annibell, North Fork, LI

The library system does nothing but takes taxes.

Kenneth Faust, Middle Island

A library offers much more than just books and other material items for loan.

Aimee Schwarz, Copiague

It will literally be an Amazon store with books, not a public space.

Ming Sun, Malverne

Amazon would not benefit financially from trying to replace the functions of a library

Avinash Tyagi, orlando

What nonsense.

Brian Harty, Port Jefferson