On “Quitting Amazon”

Over the past few weeks I’ve been “quitting Amazon,” not so much because I think they’re evil, etc, but just because their recent moves have been so incredibly stupid and tone-deaf that’s it’s hard not to react in some way. I already buy most of my books through local stores, so this has been more a matter of going directly to the manufacturer websites of non-book products Amazon sells. I’ve even found that it’s quite easy and helpful to use Amazon to “showroom” items; i.e., to tap into all of the rich base of knowledge and customer reviews available on that site, and then buy my product elsewhere.

The links on this site go to Amazon, and this will remain so. They’re really the only place that makes affiliate links worthwhile for a meager blogger such as myself, and I don’t want to waste the time trying to patch together an alternative that isn’t going to work anyway.

The links are basically there for people who are going to buy the book through Amazon anyway. You’re all adults, you all have the resources to shop where you want. I don’t think linking to Amazon is going to unduly influence any of you. If you’re going to purchase things through Amazon, please use my links as a small thanks for all this richly opinionated knowledge I purvey. If you’re not going to purchase through Amazon, don’t feel obliged to so, so that I’ll get 7% of your purchase price.

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I’d love to quit Amazon, but unfortunately in large swaths of the country independent book stores suck. The independents here in St. Louis rarely carry what I’m looking for. If the book’s not in stock & I have to order it, then I go with Amazon or Barnes & Noble because their shipping service is so much better.

It’s frustratingly hard to find the latest smaller presses. Not a single store in St. Louis has any Knausgaard volume in stock right now. My success rate for finding what I’m looking for in stock at a local store is probably around 30%. That makes it hard to resist Amazon.

    Mike, do the stores have membership programs? The one independent store in my town has a mostly terrible selection, but for a 25 dollar year-membership, I get 20% off any book I buy, including those ordered. I make up for that 25 bucks pretty quickly. If a store you like doesn’t have a program like this, you could try suggesting it to them. It’s the only way it made it feasible for me to stop turning to Amazon for books.

      That’s a good question – I don’t know. They have loyalty programs (buy 10 books, get $10 off your next purchase). I pay for a B&N membership; I’d definitely be willing to pay for one at a local store. I’m even happy to pay full retail price, as long as the shipping is free and fast.

      It’s also clear to me that for whatever reason, the selection at any single store in St. Louis just isn’t as good as what I find when I travel to bigger places like Chicago or San Francisco.

I have the same problem here in Crete. I prefer to order from Book Depository because shipping rates can get high for me out here, or from Abebooks. The problem is that Amazon has bought out both of them.

[…] Addendum Just adding in on the comments here, one reason I will mildly defend Amazon is that it gets the books to people who have no other way to get the books. In a lot of places Amazon (or Barnes & Noble) is the only valid way to get books, which does […]

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