We’re experiencing a period of significant change.
COVID-19 has altered how we live, work, and play while global protests have encouraged many municipalities to revisit police forces and procedures.
On a much, much smaller scale, some of us are continuing the change wave by re-examining how and where we buy books online.
The search for places to buy books online
In some cases, readers began looking for alternatives to Amazon when the coronavirus pandemic forced that giant retailer to set aside book orders so it could focus on shipping higher priority essentials.
Others have more philosophical reasons to look for options.
I’ve been aware of this, but only decided to pull together a list of alternatives when I saw this recent segment on “Sunday Today with Willie Geist.”
It tells the story of Marcus Books in Oakland, Calif., the oldest Black-owned bookstore in the country. Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and readers’ interest in becoming better informed about race relations, Black history, and related topics, business is booming at the store.
The segment made me realize that people had gone beyond talking about new places to buy books and starting taking action. It’s time for me to do the same.
Here’s some of what I found in my search.
You might already know about many of these alternatives to Amazon, or you might discover something new to you. Regardless, I hope it feels good to realize you have a choice.
I’ve limited this list to those that sell new trade books. A Google search will help you find retailers specializing in used books and textbooks.
Like its Amazon counterpart Audible, this audiobook retailer uses a subscription model. Get three books free when you start a free trial.
If you’re lucky, there’s still a Barnes & Noble store in your community. Every six months or so, publishing sites report that the company is in danger of going out of business, so whether you want to buy online or in stores, consider helping to keep this business alive.
The second-largest book retailer in the U.S., this store has been around for decades. (BONUS: If you shop through Rakuten, you’ll get cash back on purchases made through this site.)
This online store that supports local, independent bookstores is my new go-to for online ordering. I love that it lets you select a specific bookstore to support if you want. (It’s not required.) Learn more about how it works on the “about” page.
Libro.fm makes it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through your local bookstore — or any other local store if you don’t have one near you. It’s a great way to get the audiobooks you love while supporting an independent retailer.
Should you ever get to Portland, Ore., be certain to visit the flagship Powell’s (it’s the city’s top attraction!). You won’t be disappointed. And, with an inventory of more than two million volumes, you’ll be certain to find the book you want online.
I love The Strand and visit as often as I can when I’m in New York City. Shop online while supporting an operation that’s been in business in Manhattan since 1927.
What can you add to this list? Please tell us in a comment.
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