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Ethical book buying

I have been trying to buy books ethically for years but I recently did a lot of research into the subject and I thought I would share the information that I have found.


The main reason I wanted to look into this topic is because I have heard so
many negative things about Amazon and I wanted to find out for myself how bad
the situation is and let me tell you it’s bad. Amazon dominates the book market
which means that small businesses cannot compete with it so Amazon is not
pushed to make changes to be ethical and small businesses and authors struggle.
Book sellers and authors do not get a fair royalty from book sales via Amazon.
In addition, Amazon’s treatment of workers is appalling. With reports saying
that 74% of workers avoid using the toilet to keep up with demanding targets.
These workers have to resort to peeing in bottles. Furthermore, 55% of workers
have reported suffering from depression since working in Amazon and over 80%
said they would never apply to work at Amazon again. I was truly shocked at the
reality of how badly Amazon workers are treated.

After discovering the shocking truth about Amazon I decided that it was time
to look into other ways to buy books that don’t involve Amazon. I just need to
be clear that I am not suggesting that we should all boycott amazon because
lots of Indie authors rely on Amazon and many people do have valid reasons for
using Amazon. However, I am going to be more deliberate with where I buy my
books from. In addition, if I find something on Amazon that I like I will
google the product and see if I can buy it from the company’s website. Although
shipping may take longer it is a much more ethical way to purchase goods. I was
also made aware that Book Depositary and Audible are extensions of Amazon so if
I buy from there I will still be supporting Amazon.

here is the list of alternatives ways to buy books that I have found:


  • Script
  • Storytel
  • Spotify
  • Library audiobooks
  • Downpour
  • LibriVox

Many of these are actually better services than Audible as with Audible
there is only a limited number of books that you can listen to each month and
it is also a very expensive service. Script and Storytel both works almost like
a service such as Disney+ or Netflix as they have a library of books that you
can listen to but you will not own the book. Spotify is a really good option as
many people will already have subscriptions. Sportify has loads of audiobooks
which I was really surprised to discover as I have had Sportify for quite some
time now.

Online Alternatives

  • Hive
  • Kennys Bookshop
  • Libris
  • Bazarow
  • Project Gutenberg
  • You can order online form
    local bookshops

These are some really good options for online book buying. Hive is in the UK
and it pays a commission to local book sellers every time you buy a book. lets you chose an indie bookstore to support every time you order
a book and this service is available in the USA. Bazarow which is available in
the Netherlands also supports indie bookstores. If you google your area you
will find what options are available for you.

Support your local bookstore. By buying your books from a bookstore that is
not a high street chain or a supermarket you will ensure that the author gets
the correct royalty from the sale and support a small business as well! This is
a really good option but unfortunately it isn’t available for everyone as
bookstores tend to be quite expensive but this is because you would be paying a
fair price.

Cheaper alternatives

  • The Library
  • thrift stores
  • charity shops
  • 2nd hand bookstores
  • book outlets
  • lending books to friends
  • book swaps

Despite buying books 2nd hand not supporting the authors it is sustainable
and the most ethical way to buy cheap books out there. For Charity and Thrift
shops it depends on the type of books you like and the stock that they have. Libraries
are free in most countries and generally the author does get paid when you take
out a book.

If you have any other suggestions for alternatives to buying books from Amazon please let me know in the comments! 


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