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:
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!
This season for dignify has challenged us with waiting. Blankets have been leaving our hands at the fastest pace ever (yay!) and we are trying to simply keep up. Add extra inconveniences & delays (from COVID, from customs checks, and more), and we have been really exercising our muscles in patience, trust, and gratitude.
Culturally, we are in a stage of waiting, as well. Waiting for vaccine rollout. Waiting for "normal" opportunities to return, for "normal" life to resume in our cities, our nations.
Looking back at some photos from last Christmas, I came across this screenshot from my phone that really made me laugh:
My husband was dropping off our parcels recently, and a woman working in our shipper's office said, "I was looking at your site, and I think I might buy some of these blankets this year as gifts; I'm mostly shopping online." Another employee chimed in, "I'm going to do all of my shopping online, too."
That evening, he went with our kids to the mall to pick something up (masked, natch), and as he surveyed the hallways — with some permanently closed stores, some shuttered from lack of employees, etc. — Wayne's thought was, "I think I need to do all my shopping at the mall!"