Alternatives to Amazon: Better World Books

March 18, 2015

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!

 

 

 


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