Alternatives to Amazon: Better World Books

March 18, 2015 2 min read

1 Comment

Sooo, I love a good deal. I really do. When Amazon first began gaining traction, it was my greatest delight to find something I wanted on Amazon for a fraction of the price that I could find it elsewhere.

Then, I read about them being the Walmart of the internet: not much concern for anything (or anyone) but the profit statement. I heard about the Hachette debacle. I read that in the UK, Amazon uses a tax evasion practice that enables them to pay less than 0.1% in taxes. And, as my husband was helping to promote & sell a water-purification product, I learned first-hand about Amazon’s aggressively predatory pricing. That is, they constantly scour the internet marketplace for other stores selling the same products, and inch their prices a little bit lower, and lower, and lower. Amazon can still thrive as a business, even with very low margins (selling for just a tiny bit more than the price for which they bought it), because their volume of sales is so high. Small businesses cannot.

It was time. The discounts could no longer sweet talk me. I needed to break up with “the Web’s biggest bully”.

I had mostly been borrowing books from the library, buying used, and shopping for other items at more traditional stores (I can buy running shoes from a local running store – who knew?!). But I’ve always got my eyes open for alternatives to Amazon.

Cue the trumpet fanfare: only last week, I was DELIGHTED to discover Better World Books.

A dozen years ago, three guys in college started selling textbooks online to make some extra cash. They quickly observed two interesting cultural problems: 1) loads of unwanted books, destined for the landfill; & 2) people around the world, hungry for books & literacy.

Better World Books is essentially a business with a mission to promote literacy: selling books here at a reasonable price, giving books elsewhere to people who want & need them, and all the while, caring for the earth in which this is all happening.

If you’re looking for book-buying alternatives to Amazon, here’s what is awesome about Better World Books:

  • Free Shipping! Everywhere!
  • Book for Book™: They match every purchase with a book donation to someone in need.
  • 15 Million books have been donated to partner programs around the world.
  • 73,000 tons of books have been diverted from landfills.
  • $19 million has been generated to fund literacy & library projects.
  • Each order is carbon balanced with Green-e Climate certified offsets (whatever that means! You’ll know if you’re into that sort of thing ;)
  • 2 Hour or Same Day eDelivery service: choose any used book in their warehouse (there are 35,000); they will cut & scan the pages, send you the pdf, and recycle the paper. Boom!

Shop good (better?) by searching BWB for your favourite titles or your next book club selection, and know that your cash is headed to an enterprise that is interested in more than profit. Happy reading!

 

 

 


1 Response

busgrl
busgrl

June 25, 2020

i think better world books uses amazon marketplace to distribute some of their titles :(
that was really disappointing to me to find out. bookshop.org seems to be a good alternative.
let me know if you find out anything else. amazon is so ubiquitous it is difficult to avoid them. their tendrils reach in many directions and one must really do some research to find out if they are truly not shopping at amazon.

Leave a comment


Also in Shop Good Blog

How to Give a Great Gift

December 04, 2021 8 min read

I've said before that while I advocate for shopping thoughtfully & being slow... I love gifts! Actual, tangible, pull-the-wrapping-off gifts.

We want to make the gifts that we give worth it. Worth the money, the materials, the effort... So, how to choose a thoughtful gift that will be meaningful to the recipient?

Read More
Intentional Spending: 5 Ways to Shop With Purpose

October 22, 2021 4 min read

Intentionality simply means the act of being deliberate, purposeful

If you are a committed budgeter, there is no question of being intentional; you probably account for every dollar. But, nobody — even if you track every receipt — spends every single dollar how they wish to (dishwasher repairs, new socks, & lost library books come to my mind...).

Even so, we can be thoughtful about how money leaves our wallet, slides onto our credit card, decreases our bank balance… we can be deliberate & purposeful with even the smallest financial decisions.

Read More
Global Supply Disruption & dignify: What It Means for You

October 08, 2021 3 min read


This dignify post draws from Derek Thompson's October 7th article in The Atlantic.

Thompson's article explains the practical challenges in 2021 for consumers as well as for retailers.

Here's how some of these points relate to dignify right now and in the coming months:

Read More