Normally I do a “Behind the Story” post on Thursdays, but I think this is much more important. Anyone who cares about books should read this article regarding the publishing industry: Publishing Ecosystem on the Brink: the Backstory.
I really do recommend reading the whole article (it’s not terribly long). But it essentially discusses how Amazon has been bullying all booksellers (both Indie and chains) as well as publishers (both Indie and the Big Six). It also details how Amazon becoming a monopoly would be a very bad thing for new authors. (I also did a post earlier in the year when Borders closed and discussed why brick and mortar stores are important.)
I already felt confused regarding where to get my books, and now after reading this article, I just feel even more confused.
Here are my options when it comes to buying books:
Amazon via my Kindle: I adore my Kindle. I’ve had one for three years now, and it’s convenience is unmatched. But I obviously feel a huge sense of guilt for two reasons. One, every time I buy an eBook, I’m taking money away from traditional book sale and traditional book stores. Two, I now know that Amazon is a bully, and I don’t like bullies. But I love my Kindle! *super duper sad face*
Indie Bookstores: This is my favorite place to buy books because I know I’m supporting great people. My favorite Indie Bookstore is Browseabout Books in Rehoboth, Delaware. But I don’t live in Delaware, and I only go there maybe 5 times a year. I always make a point of buying a stack of books when I’m in town, but it’s not local. I’ve yet to find an Indie Bookstore in my area to frequent. And then there’s the fact that Indie Bookstores may not always carry the book you’re looking for.
Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million: These are the two chain bookstores that I have in my area. I used to frequent Borders, and that was my favorite. But obviously that is no longer an option. BAM is cool. I’m just getting to know them now that Borders is gone. I was super impressed with how well stocked they were and bought a chunk of my Christmas gifts there. I’ve never been as big a fan of B&N. I frequently can’t find the books I’m looking for, and the store that’s near me is always crowded and terrible for browsing. But now that I realize they are Amazon’s big contender and possibly the hope of brick and mortar book stores, I feel a lot of pressure to support them and do some of my purchasing there. Then again, I also don’t have space in my tiny place to store tons of books… eBooks are more convenient.
The Library: Another fantastic option. Libraries are fantastic. Librarians are some seriously cool people. And free books are a gift. But popular books often have wait lists, and then there’s the whole date due back thing. I can’t read books at my leisure. And sometimes I want to own a book.
So when it all comes down to it, I feel like I’m being pulled in so many different directions when it comes to where I get my books.
Do I go with what’s cheap?
Do I go with what’s easy?
Do I go with who I want to support?
Do I really have the strength (and wallet) to boycott Amazon? I don’t know if I do. I just got a new Kindle, and I love it. And I’m just a poor teacher who makes diddly squat.
So complicated. And I don’t think writing this post helped firm up any resolution on where to get my books. But maybe it helped you?
Feel free to comment. I’d love to discuss and hear your thoughts!
And feel free to share my post or the article!