Help Local Booksellers by Using These Amazon Alternatives - 4 minutes read

Screenshot : David Murphy

Whether you love or hate Amazon doesn’t matter. Right now, two facts are clear: It’s probably taking you a bit longer to receive non-essential items from the retail giant, depending on what you’re ordering and when you’re ordering it, and there are a ton of small businesses going out of business right now because of everything related to the coronavirus.


I love speedy shipping, I do, but only because I—and many others—distance myself from the raw mechanics of Amazon’s regime. It’s a moral quandary I don’t often think about, but one that should inform my decision to renew my Prime membership. I’ll tackle that when it’s time, but in the meantime, it’s a lot harder to ignore the barren parking lots and empty storefronts I see when I’m on a quarantine-friendly walk nowadays.

To get the best of both worlds—reasonably speedy book shipping and a way to keep your favorite local bookstores afloat—I recommend you substitute two websites in place of Amazon: and


Why you should buy books on Bookshop, not Amazon

Bookshop is an incredible Amazon rival that’s one of the few good things to come from this whole coronavirus mess. The premise is simple: Order books online, and your purchase contributes to a large earnings pool that gets paid out to independent bookstores—10 percent of all the site’s sales, period. The bookstores themselves earn 30 percent of any sales they generate if they use Bookshop to manage their inventory, packing, and shipping. Additionally, Bookshop has a healthy affiliate program that actually pays out a higher percent for referrals (10%) than Amazon (4.5%) for books—so sites and influencers that link to Bookshop help themselves and local independent bookstores with every sale.

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Screenshot : David Murphy ( Bookshop

Honestly, there’s no reason to not give Bookshop a try if you’re looking for something to read in your quarantine downtime. Its website is simple to use as long as you know what you want; since it’s new, it doesn’t have the robust review system in place that you’d find on Amazon, but I doubt many people buy books because Amazon shoppers said they were great.


In a perfect world, someone will make a Chrome or Firefox extension that alerts you to the price of an item on Bookshop when you look it up on Amazon—a handy little reminder. I haven’t seen one yet, owing to Bookshop’s newness, but I’m confident we’ll see something like this soon enough.

Buy your audiobooks on bookstore-friendly

Screenshot : David Murphy (


As for, I recommend this as a great alternative for all the audiobooks you’d otherwise purchase on Amazon’s Audible. While this site, tipped to me by OneZero’s Angela Lashbrook, doesn’t detail out exactly what percent of revenue bookstores receive for your audiobook purchases (or any referral links they’re using), the site clearly has your independent bookstore’s best interests in mind. As Lashbrook recently wrote:

Similar to Bookshop, also shares revenue with independent bookstores, but as most bookstores around the country were forced to close their doors, decided to expand that support by 100% of revenue from new membership sign-ups to affiliated bookstores.


You can find a list of partner bookstores here, to confirm that you can designate your purchases to support your favorite local shop (or any bookstore, really). You can listen to your audiobooks via apps for iOS and Android, much as you would any audiobook service, and’s subscription—$15/mo—is basically the same price as Amazon’s Audible. Heck, if you sign up for with the promo code SWITCH (active as of when we wrote this), you’ll even be able to score extra audiobooks for free with any new purchases.

Free books and audiobooks are fine, too

Honestly, both of these services are great, but there are even better alternatives, too, if you need to get your reading (or listening) fix during the big quarantine. I’d hit up the app Libby right now and start getting access to as many libraries as I can get my hands on. Why not take advantage of free books and audio content, if you can? Or go completely old-school and enjoy some cleaned-up classics as ebooks, if that’s your preference. You have no excuse to not get literary while you wait for the world to open back up.


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