Forbes Deletes Op-Ed Arguing Amazon Should Replace Libraries

An economist said it would "save taxpayers money."

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This weekend, Forbes published an opinion piece by LIU Post economist Panos Mourdoukoutas with the headline, “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money.” The intense criticism and backlash from American libraries and their communities was immediate.

Forbes took the story — which had nearly 200,000 views — down this morning.

“Forbes advocates spirited dialogue on a range of topics, including those that often take a contrarian view,” a Forbes spokesperson says in a statement, according to Quartz. “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.”

Mourdoukoutas argued in the article that local libraries are no longer useful and taxpayers would save money if they closed. Amazon could open bookstores that would provide those communities with physical books, he wrote.

Critics pointed out that underprivileged communities who would be hit the hardest by library closures. Libraries provide free computers and internet access for students and people who cannot afford them at home, as well as free ESL classes, services for the elderly, college hopefuls and entrepreneurs and meals for kids at story time.

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