My Alternative to Amazon

If you’re in the publishing industry at all, as an author, an editor, or even just an interested consumer, you’ve probably read about the controversy surrounding Amazon’s new POD publishing plans, and the restrictions it’s placing on book listings that don’t conform to their demands.

Self-published authors are angry at the fact that Amazon would remove one-click ordering for books that don’t use their BookSurge publisher. Some industry experts, on the other hand, are touting it as a possible wake-up call to the antiquated book publishing industry.

Whatever. They’re a business, a gigantic fracking business. The only thing I can do about their practices (as a consumer and as-yet unpublished novelist) is to buy my stuff elsewhere.

Which got me wondering: what else is out there? Sure, there’s Barnes & Noble, another box giant whose sales contribute little to author’s pockets. Six of one, half dozen of the other, if you ask me.

So I did a little looking around, and came across Better World Books. It’s a retailer that began as a used book distributor, “rescuing” discarded library books and returning them to the circulation rather than letting them get scrap-heaped. It’s now grown to a large retailer selling new and used books, DVDs, and music.

What’s more, they fund literacy programs all over the world. They have free shipping regardless of how much you buy. They add a few cents to each purchase for carbon offsetting for the shipping.

Imagine that. A socially conscious company. I’d have made the switch even without all the Amazon controversy. Try it. It’ll make you feel at least a smidgen better about being a consumer.

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