Amazon originally started as an online marketplace for books. It has since expanded to all sectors of online retail, internet infrastructure, physical stores and services. Even so, it remains the dominant player in the bookselling business.
Not feeling comfortable using Amazon anymore, many people are looking for alternatives. But that’s especially complicated when it comes to books. Amazon is great at it—they have all the books one might be looking for, their prices are probably the best, and the review system helps you find out about the print (and sometimes content) quality before purchasing a book. But I think I found1 a good enough alternative that I’ve been using for the past five months—bookshop.org (or if you, like me, are in the UK—uk.bookshop.org).
You can find most books on Bookshop, albeit at a slightly higher price than at Amazon. But the main reason I’m using this new service is because they support local bookshops. With every order, you’ll be contributing to an earnings pool that is evenly distributed among independent bookshops. Alternatively, you can pick a specific store you want to support.
I must mention that not all booksellers are happy about this. A New Statesman article says
Bookshops earn less through sales on Bookshop.org than they would from selling their books direct to customers, and booksellers fear the site, rather than competing with Amazon, is diverting shoppers away from the high street.
Sure, if you are looking for Obama’s newest memoir, you are going to find it in most bookshops—that’s where you should buy it. But for those looking for less popular books or for those who would buy online anyway, Bookshop seems like a good option.