I seem to have accidentally boycotted Amazon. No great announcement has been made that I will never shop with them again. Far from it, I know that I will, and that I’ll be happy about it, but I’m still on my one-woman campaign to shop at real book shops instead of always buying them online and to be more mindful of my book buying.
This has happened for a number of reasons. I realised that if I stopped shopping in my local book shops, there might come a time when they could not survive. That’s not to say I spend a fortune on books, but I admit, in the past, I’ve looked at a book in the shop, decided that I want it and then gone to buy it cheaper from Amazon. I suspect I’m not the only one who has done that. If we all did the same, my city would be without a book shop at all, which is a prospect I even hate thinking about.
I have also reduced the number of books I buy. I used to buy cheap paperbacks from Amazon, or, back in the days when I shopped in large supermarkets, throw a couple in with the food shopping, barely giving them a second thought. Although most of those choices were the easy reading novels that I get through in a couple of days, I see now that they deserved a bit more consideration than I was giving to them. I’ve ended up with stacks of books littering the house, which I still have to get around to reading. Proof that I’ve bought more than I can cope with. I’m now on a self-imposed challenge to read through everything I’ve bought – and then pass on those that I won’t read again. Book swapping at World Book Night will come in handy!
So, those easy to read books now come from the library. My twice weekly library visits are a pleasure and I hope my patronage will help keep my small local library open. Lets ignore the truth that I could have bought some of the books with the amount I’ve spent in overdue fines. (As an aside, the staff in my library are wonderful, great with my kids and really friendly and helpful.)
This leaves the bigger purchases. Things like cookery books, travel guides, coffee table tomes, bigger and more important works of literary fiction, beautiful editions of classics and vintage books for my various collections. The kind of book that should be purchased, not in a supermarket dash, or with the half-focussed click of a button because it was cheap, but after a joyful time spent browsing, picking things up and making real, considered decisions. These things matter to me. A new book should be a thing of joy and beauty, preferably not just something that you buy when you get your bread and loo roll. I say this, having stopped my trips to the supermarket though. How easy I’d find it to give up if I still went in them remains unknown!
If I was going to buy more books online, then the place I’d like to spend my money is Hive – this is an online collective of independent bookstores, worth taking a look at. Books can be bought online or you can arrange to collect your purchases at your local independent book shop if you’re lucky enough to have one. The other place I look is AbeBooks for vintage copies of old favourites, like my Ruby Ferguson ‘Jill‘collection.
For now though, I’ll continue to work my way through the backlog of books I still have at home, and make time to linger awhile in the real bookshops around me for new ones…
Where do you buy your books? Do you have a favourite local bookshop? I’d love to know…