We all know and love Amazon for the low prices, fast delivery and most importantly the convenience. Although Amazon has been a household name for 25 years, the company continues to grow as online shopping becomes increasingly popular. Lockdown around the world has proven to be extremely taxing on the nations mental health, however, online companies like Amazon have been revelling, as people turn to them for almost everything, including groceries, technology, clothing, books, and so much more. Currently, around 4,000 items are sold on Amazon every minute. This resulted in a huge sales revenue in the first quarter of 2020 at $75.5 billion… wtf. When the company first started in 1994 in Bezos’ garage, the first order was a book. And as the company has grown, it has become the largest online retailer with hundreds of thousands of books on offer for a relatively cheap price compared to the RRP. For any book lover, this could be our place of dreams. However, many people have turned sour towards the company and it’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, as rumours spread about tax avoidance, poor pay and toxic treatment of workers – of which you can learn more about here and here. I am certainly not qualified nor educated enough to pass a valid judgement on these issues, however it certainly isn’t a sustainable or ethical company in my eyes.
Now, many people may not see how to get out of the vicious cycle of shopping on Amazon if it has been their one-stop-shop for many years. However, I am here to tell you that it really is quite simple. Before you search online for the latest thing you want to buy, take a walk down your local high street and see what they have to offer. And maybe your town is small and your high street really doesn’t have much, however that shouldn’t mean you automatically return to Amazon. There are so many amazing websites that support sustainable and ethical independent companies, all it takes is a little google search to find them. Particularly for book lovers, Amazon is easily avoidable and we really don’t have any excuses not to be shopping at the bookstore I am about to show you.
I will alway recommend trying to bookshop in store as not only is it just a fun pass-time but it is also a lot more sustainable, as there will be no delivery, meaning no excess packaging or fuel used on transport. You could shop in your local Waterstones or Blackwells or you can find a local independent bookstore near you if you have one. To be even more sustainable and ethical, why not scout out your local charity shops and buy books second hand while also donating to a good cause? However, I know times are very tough right now regarding strict lockdowns in some areas and, of course, social distancing measures. For anyone shielding or for anyone who doesnt feel comfortable leaving their home in these scary times, don’t fret because I have plenty of online shops to fulfil your bookish needs while also avoiding amazon.
The first is Bookshop.org which is an online bookstore with a mission to support local, independent bookshops. They do this by constantly working with authors, publishers and independents and also by donating 75% of their profit margin to independent bookstores. They have a really unique feature which lets you search for bookshops in your area and order books directly from them. It is so important, now more than ever, to support your local bookstores so Bookshop.org allows you to do that from the comfort and safety of your own home. They also have a great affiliate programme that you can sign up for for free, where you share your favourite books and if someone buys through your link, you get a commision of 10% – I would definitely recommend this to any book blogger or book lover even if you only use it with your friends and family. If you would like to support me, you could use my affiliate link with Bookshop. Unfortunately, it is currently only available in the UK and the US, however, Bookshop.org is hoping to expand this to more countries in the future.
2. Awesome Books
Awesome Books is a great company which sells both second hand and new release books on their website. This is another place to shop sustainably as they have saved 132 million books from going to landfills through their second hand book programme, giving the books a new loving home. They are also passionate about giving back and spreading the joy of reading. For every book bought on their website they aim to donate one book. So far they have donate over 100 thousand books to schools across the globe. With the added bonus of free UK delivery, Awesome Books is a great place to shop to avoid Amazon.
Hive is another online bookstore that aims to promote independent bookshops. They allow you to give back by donating a percentage of your order to a bookstore of your choosing. They have a huge selection of books and authors to choose from and they provide you with the free UK delivery we all love. With websites like Hive, there really is no reason for continuing to shop on amazon.
Wordery has one of the biggest selection of books online and is constantly looking to expand and grow. Amazingly, they offer free delivery to 100 different countries, which shows that they aim to be an inclusive company. This is just another example of an alternative online bookstore to Amazon.
5. Shop second hand online!
Websites like Depop are amazing for second hand book shopping. People list and sell a whole range of books they no longer want, which are in great condition. You can even buy book bundles from the same author to save on postage! There are definitely some hidden gems on Depop, so if you have the patients to search the website, I’m sure you will find anything you are looking for. Similarly, there are lots of private facebook groups where you can buy, sell and swap books. The two I am a part of are Beth’s Big Book Swap and Ella’s Garage Book Shop. Not only are these great for finding the books you want, but they also allow you to interact with other book lovers and make new friends in this community.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. They are many more companies that are inherently better than Amazon – it just take the time and effort to find them and consciously make an active change. I’m not naive enough to think that changing something simple like you book buying habits will save the planet, but it will contribute to a more ethical and sustainable society and environment which is what we should all be aiming for. I urge you all to check out the websites I mentioned today and not only use them for this holiday period by continue to use them into the new year. I hope you have found this interesting and informative and if you know of any more brilliant online shops to avoid amazon, please share them so everyone knows!