Saturday, October 20, 2007

Deep in the Amazon Jungle

Dan Wells has a new post up about the evils of amazon.ca. I'd heard about problems publishers have had with Amazon, but didn't realize how bad the situation is. Maybe I didn't want to know how bad it is. As Dan points out, I've been rather vocal in my loathings of Heather Reisman's Chindigo empire. In part, this is because their bricks-and-mortar stores have squeezed out so many independents. In part, it's because I find Reisman herself despicable. Amazon doesn't have bricks-and-mortar stores, so they don't provide the same nature of competition to independent booksellers. And I have no idea who runs Amazon, so there's no corollary to the Reisman-factor.

I've bought quite a few books from Amazon over the years, but I also frequent independent shops and give them a fair bit of my book-buying business. I tend to get books I know I want from Amazon and discover the books I didn't know I wanted at bricks-and-mortar stores. And I always urge people to buy my book from their local independent if they can. But I've lived in places where there was no bookstore, period, and online shopping was the only real way to get books. And I like the idea of people being able to order my book online; I don't see any inherent ethical dilemma in it. But if Amazon is running a shitty show, I guess I'm going to have to officially discourage people from shopping there and cutting it out myself. I'll be looking for other online options. Anyone know of good places to shop for new books online?

4 comments:

Brenda Schmidt said...

I can totally relate to what Dan says.

McNally Robinson has been great to deal with so far both in store and with online orders.

Zachariah Wells said...

Yeah, as soon as I finished writing this post, McNally Robinson occurred to me and I deleted my amazon.ca link and put the McNally link in its place. Thanks, Brenda.

Ian LeTourneau said...

Zach, try Northwest Passages, http://www.nwpassages.com/

I ordered from them once and they were very nice.

Ian LeTourneau

Carleton Wilson said...

Abebooks.com is a very good resource for finding books online, both used and new. It links independent bookstores the world over, allowing them to post their inventories online. It acts as an intermediary between independent booksellers and purchasers. I've used it a number of times, especially to find books that are out-of-print, and have found it to be an excellent way of buying books online.