End run around the gorilla: alternative sources for buying books

end run around the gorilla: alternative sources for buying books

If you’re a writer or reader, you’re probably well-informed about the twists and turns in the Amazon vs. Publishing World conflict. If you’re looking for a way to avoid buying books from Amazon until the dispute is settled, here’s a small list of alternative sources.


First and best: your local independent bookstore(s). They actually have a lot of books, and if they don’t happen to have what you want that minute, they can order it. If they have to order, try replacing your need for instant gratification with the excitement of anticipation. That could be a thrill, and you can do it in the warm and fuzzy knowledge that you’re supporting something that’s in your own best interest: diversity in marketing.

But if you live far from a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, you need mail-order.

Bulletin: There is life and mail beyond Amazon.

Try one of these, and please feel free to advise us all (in the comments, below) of any other mail-order sources you recommend.

  • Powell’s, in Portland, OR, which is huge, smart, and shipping (fast and cheap) nationwide
  • BAM, or Books-a-Million, which also has many bricks/mortar branches in many states
  • Barnes & Noble, ye olde standby
  • Biblio.com, a gigantic marketplace of booksellers all over the world
  • Individual publishers: Get in touch online with the publishers of the books you want; look for the link to “order books” or to “shop” or some similar phrase. This may or may not pan out, but it’s worth a try. Macmillan, for instance, has a comprehensive ordering service.
  •  Walmart Books Online, yeah, I know, it’s Walmart, but they have an amazing stock of books at great prices

The fact is that there are many mail-order sources, and I can’t name them all here.  But here’s a trick: Publishers, like Random House , sometimes list a plethora of online sources for books. Check them out. Hachette used to have a “Where to Buy Our Books” button; the button isn’t operational right now. Sad.

But I reiterate: If you have a local independent bookstore, give those folks a chance to serve you. They’re part of your community, and community is important.  If you possibly can–even though it takes a few extra dollars and some extra time too–support your indies. 



 FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast

McNally Jackson, New York, NY

Folio Books, San Francisco, CA

Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

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