How to avoid Amazon this Christmas: the bookish edition

Imogen Davis discusses the new independent book website Bookshop.org and why you should champion them over Amazon

Imogen Davies
13th November 2020
Gifting books can be difficult. There are several pitfalls when it comes to curating perfect recommendations for loved ones as they can fall anywhere on a scale from intensely intimate to somewhat impersonal.

And yet this is not the greatest challenge that book-buying poses this year. In a post-lockdown world, where should we spend our money? Where should we purchase our Christmas books from?

With the ongoing pandemic, insidious social issues and looming climate disaster, our spending habits are more crucial than ever. It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year in which more and more people have been pushing for accountability and for positive change. As such corporations like Amazon who continue to exploit their workers and commit tax evasion should be avoided if at all possible.

2020 has been a year in which more and more people have been pushing for accountability and for positive change

Not only does Amazon harm their workers, they actively harm the publishing industry by selling books at a loss to attract customers. While it’s tempting to make up a wish list of cheap books to be sent to the doorstep, it is also important to remember that this is to the detriment of authors and smaller bookshops. Fortunately, there are many alternatives.

Amazon is incredibly hard to boycott completely and its influence seems to be everywhere. Luckily, however, books are one of the easiest and most accessible items to source from other companies. Whether you want to get your books from run of the mill high street shops such as Waterstones or fancy buying secondhand from sites such as Ebay or Depop, there are so many opportunities to buy books more ethically. 

In fact, recent shifts in the world of bookselling have made this even more possible. This year saw the launch of Bookshop.org, a company that allows buyers to support independent booksellers. The site does this by providing them with their own virtual shop front on the site and allows them to receive the full profit margin from each sale. This new kid on the block has been described by some as revolutionary and could prove to be a real competitor to Amazon and it’s monopoly over the book industry. Although still a relatively new conception, Bookshop.org has received a lot of attention and could just be the best way to treat loved ones to an interesting read this festive season. 

Featured Image: Bookshop.org

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