Indie Bookstores versus Amazon

Monday, December 16, 2013

The holidays are getting closer and closer, which means holiday shopping! I get my gifts from a variety of places, mainly big box stores and I'm rethinking where I'm buying everything from.

Recently, Amazon came under fire yet again and people decided that they weren't going to buy from Amazon at all. I'm all for supporting local business but not buying things from Amazon at all? Feasibility and practicality become issues, especially in this economy. 

As a college student, I like to save money. I've signed up for Qdoba Rewards, MyPanera and so many other programs as well in an attempt to save money. Stores with student discounts? Hello, new best friend! Like so many of my friends and college students in general, I have Amazon Prime. It's a life saver when I've ran out of shampoo since the closest Target is a 30 minute bus ride away. Sometimes, ain't nobody got time fo' dat. 

However, Amazon does put my beloved indie bookstores bankrupt because there is no way they can compete with Amazon prices. I'm not going to lie, I've been accustomed to Amazon book prices for a while and whenever I see a full-priced book, I cringe a little inside. My wallet! 

That said, however, when I went to my local indie bookstore, I did pay full price for Where'd You Go, Bernadette. It's the experience of indie bookstores that I love, not the purchase itself. My wallet though, does not like the purchase. A dilemma, then. 

I read a relatively recent article about the indie bookstore that I went to where the owner said that she competed with Amazon by not competing with it. She said that customers know what they want and they buy 50% of books from her bookstore and the other 50% from Amazon. To me, it's a solution to the dilemma between my love of indie bookstores and my need to save money. Win-win, right? 

While Amazon does offer low prices and thereby driving out the competition to the ground, to a certain extent, low prices do promote literacy. People who may not have the means to buy books can buy books at a drastically reduced price and they can buy more books for the same amount of money. 

Also, if you're shopping on Amazon , shop through instead of the normal Amazon, where a portion of your purchase price goes to the charity of your choosing. The prices and products offered are the same and the only thing that's different is that a part of your purchase price goes to charity. Awesome, right? 

What are your thoughts on Amazon and indie bookstores? Do you prefer one over the other? 


  1. Save one used bookstore about 30 minutes away, I don't have any indie bookstores within a reasonable distance -- so I do wind up buying many books from Amazon or the Books-a-Million in town. It's just an issue of practicality for me!

  2. Also, I had no idea about AmazonSmile -- thank you so much for sharing! I just added my local humane society as the group benefiting from my online shopping addiction. :) That's awesome!

  3. Yep! That's definitely an issue for me, too. Amazon is just so convenient, not just for books.

  4. It's amazing, isn't it? Definitely using it from now on. It's a pity that the percentage that goes to charity is so low, though. :/

  5. I absolutely love Indie Book Stores, I actually have one about 10 minutes away. It's called City Lights, it's a cozy little homey bookstore with two cats in it and I love the atmosphere. They have this thing where if you buy 9 books you get 10 dollars off of the tenth one. I but books from Amazon and Barnes and Noble (for my Nook e-books) because it's more convenient and a little easier on my pockets.

    Yes I do love supporting my local bookstore, but my wallet just isn't that big. So I try to balance the two.

  6. Ohhh, that's a great incentive program. Definitely balancing between the two is the practical way to go and I don't think I could survive buying books on a budget with only an indie. Love them, but my wallet.

  7. I really love my indie book store at home, and the ones near my school. SO MANY. But yeah. It's a little bad, but I rarely buy books from these stores - only when the price competes with Amazon/BN. (I'm a broke college student, what can I say?) BUT. I do buy everything else from there. Coffee, bookmarks, bookends, post cards, note cards, planners, stationary, store merchandise, candles? I'm not sure if it evens it out, but I like to think it does.

    My Indie at home actually gives 25% if you're a valued customer (have to buy a certain amount each month, and it rolls over), so I don't know! It really just depends for me.

  8. Yep, I know what you mean! My broke college student wallet cries at the prices of books sometimes at indies. I think it's a great idea that you buy the other merchandise at indies! I should start doing that.

    My indie at home is great, too, and there are always sales on books whenever I go. I love that yours has a loyalty program!


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