So, let me start by stating that this post is in no way a criticism of anyone who uses Amazon. I use Amazon and for many people, including myself, it’s been a valuable resource during the Covid-19 pandemic. With bookstores having been closed for the majority of the year, I’ve spent the last few months buying my books through Amazon. I can buy a book with a simple click of a button and it usually arrives through my letterbox within a day or two. However, with the recent news that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezoz’s personal wealth has increased by an estimated $74 billion since January, I’ve started to question my reliance on Amazon. While the Covid-19 pandemic has forced small, independent businesses to close indefinitely, the world’s richest man is only getting richer. With shops starting to open up again, I think it’s important to remember that while Amazon is a convenient option when it comes to buying books, it’s by no means our only option.
Without further ado, here are five alternatives to buying books on Amazon.
World of Books is a website that was introduced to me by a friend. It’s a company that sells secondhand books because they “don’t believe that books should only be read once, or have a single owner”. Furthermore, they work to reduce carbon emissions by ensuring that books are kept in use for as long as possible and when this is no longer possible, they ensure that those books are properly recycled. As well as selling a wide range of cheap paperbacks, they also sell rarer books, books that you might not necessarily find elsewhere. Oh, and not only is postage within the UK free, they also post their books out in recyclable packaging.
2. Charity shops
When charity shops open up again, please, please go and check out the selection of books in your local store. Not only will you be supporting a good cause, but, as with World of Books, you will be keeping books in use for longer, ensuring that they don’t end up in a landfill site. Charities such as Oxfam actually have entire stores dedicated to books and there are real gems to be found on their shelves.
A majority of the clothes that I’ve bought this year have been secondhand from eBay. It’s not just a great site for fashionistas, (which I, sitting here in my panda pajama bottoms, faded t-shirt and knitted cardi, am most definitely not), it’s also a great place to buy books. Again, by buying a secondhand book, you’re helping to ensure that it doesn’t end up in a landfill site, plus you’re also helping out the seller.
4. Independent bookstores
Living in Glasgow, I have access to a lot of different bookstores, some of which are independent and run by local people. Most towns and cities have at least one independent bookstore. Some sell new books, some sell secondhand books. Whatever books they sell, though, you’re guaranteed to leave that shop with at least one new read. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit a lot of smaller businesses hard, so when it’s safe to do so again, please help them out.
5. Book swaps
Book swaps are great. Not only do you get to clear some of shelf space, you also get new books in return… Wait, no, you’re not really clearing any shelf space. You’re simply swapping one book for another… But still. Books! I’m a member of some bookish Facebook groups and I often see people doing book swaps. Book swapping is a practice that’s cheap and fun and you can do it with friends and family as well.
So, there we have it, guys. My five alternatives to buying books on Amazon. Do you have any alternatives that you’d like to suggest? Drop them in the comments below.
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