Can one avoid Amazon ?

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Can one avoid Amazon ?

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mar 31, 2013, 12:55pm

I buy a lot through Amazon, for the simple reason that the books I am looking for are rarely available at my usual bookshops. I can of course order the books through these bookshops but they themselves just pass the order to Amazon.

Any suggestions ?

mar 31, 2013, 1:08pm

I recently found out that Amazon owns 40% of librarything. Submit; you can't win.

mar 31, 2013, 2:11pm

It is like this :

Tim Spalding (majority)

Problem is : Amazon has taken over AbeBooks

mar 31, 2013, 2:15pm

I visit our local bookshop (Waterstones) most weeks - often with a wishlist in my hand. But if a book doesn't appear on the shelves in a few weeks and I've decided I really want it then I go to Amazon. For many books they're cheaper and usually their service is quicker and more efficient. Why should I feel guilty - I support local shops but if they're incapable of providing the goods then I go elsewhere. Ditto Jessops for photographic supplies - they went to the wall not long ago and have been partly reincarnated on a smaller scale. They just didn't provide shoppers with what they wanted.

mar 31, 2013, 3:54pm

I've stopped reading.

Redigeret: mar 31, 2013, 4:48pm

Mac, you're in Europe, you should have other options. Check out's Italian, but it sells Eng, Ger, Fra, and Spa books as well. No shipping charges.

I hope they live and prosper.

For used books, see how you like Marelibri. Also, you can contact book sellers on Abe and arrange for a sale off the site, if they are willing (I've never had a no, and every time they gave me a discount too). is excellent for antiquarian books, had nothing but good experience with them. It's an association of booksellers, not a centralised company, so you have to deal separately with them too.

Redigeret: mar 31, 2013, 4:46pm

Also, you can contact book buyers on Abe and arrange for a sale off the site, if they are willing

!!!Of course! Oh frabjous day! Thanks for this Easter miracle, Lola.

mar 31, 2013, 4:46pm

This is what i call usefull info
Txs Lola

mar 31, 2013, 4:51pm

You are welcome--feel like I should point out that if you're arranging an independent sale, you won't have Abe's protection in case of missing book etc. However, I've done this more than a couple dozen times with beautiful results, I just choose booksellers with excellent feedback. (If they have a store, all the better.)

mar 31, 2013, 4:57pm

Just saved 30 euro ! Wohooooooooo

mar 31, 2013, 5:07pm

Wow, you're fast.

mar 31, 2013, 5:09pm

First edition of norman lewis sea sand and stars !

mar 31, 2013, 10:17pm

#1, I don't know where you're located but I don't know of any independent bookstore that passes along its special order to Amazon. Try or for independent mail order alternatives to Amazon.

apr 1, 2013, 2:13am

Wow, the strand is something !

apr 1, 2013, 3:48am bunch of small and bigger sellers, may yield surprising results (also price-wise). more specialized and therefore usually more expensive, but may turn out to be very useful at times.

apr 1, 2013, 5:43am

all else fails, abbie hoffman had some good ideas

apr 1, 2013, 6:50am

The people you know !

apr 1, 2013, 1:31pm

No need to steal, just go for the crappiest condition volume on

apr 1, 2013, 4:13pm

I love Amazon. They have all sorts of oddities and rarities to me that no bookstore would ever bother to carry.

I hate Amazon. They are a monopolist that drives Indies under and makes it harder to find a nice store to browse.

I love Amazon. They deliver promptly and give great service.

I hate Amazon. They constantly push utter crap and encourage mass marketing of absolutely everything. No, for the 527th time, I do not also want to buy a Dan Brown book.

I love Amazon. When I can't wait for a book they wirelessly deliver to the kindle app on my phone.

My biggest alternatives to Amazon are academic publishers, direct ordering from specialists, like China Books, or E-Bay. There was a while when the site could compete with Abebooks, but those days are gone - it is now a subset of abebooks. Project Gutenberg is also useful.

apr 1, 2013, 4:17pm

I am fortunate to live in the city that has Powells as well as other independent bookstores. Powells has almost everything. It is not always very cheap but I don't mind paying more for a book if I am encouraging a company like that. So I have been avoiding Amazon and usually don't use it. Sometimes, once in a great while, they are the only place I can find that has a title I really want. But in general I avoid them because of the "hate" reasons listed in #19.

I am kind of upset they bought Goodreads and already own part of LT. I hope LT survives for a good long time because it has greatly enriched both my reading/intellectual life and my social life.

apr 1, 2013, 4:27pm

19 Yes Amusing, you summarize our feelings well.
Anna, your lucky you have serious bookshops close to you

Tim is digging the trenches, North Korean, I mean Goodread refugees are coming over, or so I am said ; )

apr 1, 2013, 5:30pm

Perhaps we should let them know that Le Salon willing to interview for new members. Once they submit the application. And pay the requisite fees.

apr 2, 2013, 1:00am

fees paid to the Salon, I understand you well.

apr 2, 2013, 5:49am

Can we ask for a fee in chocolate? And divide it among existing members?

apr 2, 2013, 6:12am

herring please!

apr 2, 2013, 8:21am

not sure I could live without Amazon, having no access to English bookshops and they are so efficient.

Redigeret: apr 2, 2013, 8:36am

I like my chocolate hot, thick, and with a bit of scotch in it. Too much to ask?

Yes, Amazon is indispensible, love it and hate it. They got an order from me yesterday, as I learned a friend was beginning Chinese and wanted to send him the Yip book on poetry. 20 years ago, doing so would have been an endeavor. Now, search for the book and then - one click!

apr 2, 2013, 11:35am

I miss the endeavour

apr 2, 2013, 11:36am

Amusing, i think you are more a whiskey - fudge bloke

apr 2, 2013, 11:45am

I miss walking into a bookshop and looking at the staff selection, and then walking out with a bag full of books. But really, how many bookshops offer a good staff selection? I can only remember one, and that one is now a 45 minute metro ride away. There is an OK bookstore near me now, but not as good in terms of staff selection, and anyway they couldn't beat the recommendations I get here.

It took me several years to adapt to buying books online. At one point I looked back and realized that I had been reading the same kind of books over and over: the ones Amazon suggested to me based on the books I had bought from them before. That's when I started really using LT to get good recommendations, based on people's comments and not on robots telling me "you might like this".

But really if I look back some more, I had let myself be steered to OK, easy to read and easy to sell books for years, and it started with brick-and-mortar bookstores. Amazon just industrialized the biased recommendation process and made it worse.

apr 2, 2013, 12:07pm

Marelibri took me to where I found a book in the U.S. from an independent bookseller that I had not been able to find before. Thanks, Lola!

Redigeret: apr 2, 2013, 12:26pm

Visiting college towns over the last year as my daughter did her college visits was great. They still have good bookstores.

I also go to SF about twice a year, and City Lights is still what it ever was. Thanks, Larry.

But there is no longer a good bookstore near my office or home, and a few short years ago there were multiples, and that's Amazon.

Good bookstores today are destinations, not spur-of-the-moment whims.

Where's that whiskey fudge?

apr 2, 2013, 12:36pm

Bon, finally I finished a review. It has been months !

apr 2, 2013, 4:15pm

Cool connection, Lisa!

apr 2, 2013, 4:25pm

nice, mac

apr 2, 2013, 4:27pm

Very nice. I have to read the review again a couple times - there is much there. Then it sounds like my reading list has just expanded again.

apr 2, 2013, 4:28pm

Txs Rick

apr 2, 2013, 9:23pm

I would die without Amazon. THey usually have the books I want, are 100% reliable in terms of shipping to Taiwan, which can be a nightmare ('Taiwan? That's Bangkok, right?') and it all works out at around the same price as English language books in the shops here. Other online booksellers won't ship here, so I have to use amazon.

but, I hate them as well. Why do these companies have to be so fucking greedy? how much money does Beeezos actually need?

Brick and mortar bookshops in the UK are appalling, last time I visited: tables and tables of trashy chicklit and illiterate 9 year olds as service staff. THere are lots of really good books being published by small independent publishers: Dedalus, Tuttle, NDP, etc but you can never find them in a bookstore. Anyway, I haven't got the time or energy for an extended rant, but you get the picture.

Bookstores in Taipei are generally very good, but slow to order new releases.

apr 7, 2013, 8:37am

Brillant !

apr 7, 2013, 1:45pm

Aw rats, I'm just going to have to spend more time speaking Ainu, Lakota or Tagalog at one of those Indie establishments...

apr 8, 2013, 2:01am

39: That was great. I just wish it sounded less plausible.