Book Shopping.

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.Β 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 Β 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…

10 Responses to Book Shopping.

  1. Daniella says:

    My favourite book shop is about an hours drive away from where I live, it’s called Barter Books (Alnwick) and is housed in an old railway station, the bookshop deals in second hand books and you can spend hours browsing the shelves. I don’t visit book shops very often but when I do I like to stock up so I don’t get tempted to use big stores like waterstones or WH smith at home!

    Will check out Hive, thanks for the link.

  2. I LOVE Barter Books! One of my absolute favourite places. They’re really good for old Penguin paperbacks too, which I have a small collection of. Wish it was only an hour away from me πŸ™‚ You’re really lucky…

  3. Olga says:

    I also love Barter Books (you’ll have to come up sometime & visit it, Liz πŸ™‚ ) and just last week I added another 7 books from there to my ever growing collection.

    Having said that, I too am trying to cut down on my ‘to-read’ pile, since it has grown to over 100 books! I am going to try to get rid of the ones I won’t read again, and be somewhat more ruthless with the ones I do keep, as I’m rapidly running out of shelf space. This might be assisted by my recent acquisition of a BeBook from my friend Helen (Thanks Helen!) She’s got herself a new e-reader & gave me her old one… so now I’ll be finding all my old favourites to put on it πŸ˜€ and then I can clear some bookshelf space!

  4. This is the reason why even I stopped buying books online. Buying books from a bookshop is a wonderful experience in itself. I can stay for hours in a bookshop – touching the books I want – and ultimately I end up buying them.
    I’m sorry but my Computer doesn’t smell of a bookshop, so I’m not going to buy from here.

    Cheers! I couldn’t agree more.

    • You sound exactly like me! I’m a firm reader of actual books too, as opposed to e-readers, and considering your comment about the smell (one of the best smells in the world is ‘bookshop’) I think you might be too πŸ™‚

  5. Helen Lay says:

    I hardly ever buy fiction books from ‘high street’ shops, supermarkets or online these days. My mum does and often passes things to me with either an “I want this back” or a “charity shop it when you’ve read it” message. Otherwise it’s charity shops & sales, I volunteer at a community theatre and they have a sale twice a year and last time I came back with 5 random fiction books that were leftover at the end of the day that I’m working my way through. Amazon is still my main point of call for non fiction, although I do checkout Green Metropolis too (and Amazon Marketplace) first. I’m so jealous of your library visits. I used to go every couple of weeks when we first moved to the town we lived in, it was open late on a Friday and is opposite the chippy! Then they reduced the opening hours and the only late night is a night I’m never home and I struggle with a weekend routine and just ended up getting fines so I gave up with it which is sad. It’s another thing on my “if we ever move” list – get back in a library routine!

    • I’m really lucky with the library – they’ve changed the hours, so no longer have the late nights (so your story sounds really familiar) but luckily, I go for a brief visit twice a week with my son before he starts his playgroup. So not only does that make sure I go regularly but we have a little reading time together too…

  6. In exeter there was a lovely shop i think caled read and return. Your books were stamped when you bought them and a proportion of the price was credited to you when you brought them back. I would also recommend that you can order virtually anything from your local library online – when you feel the mouse hovering at amazon go to your library page and order for free instead!

    • Read and Return sounds like such a great idea. I’d love for Leeds to have a central independent books shop like that. I do order stuff from my library, it’s 70 pence, but worth it, especially if it’s something like a textbook.

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