Fall of the Amazon Woman (Day 81)…


I love Amazon. I love being tricked by technology into thinking I’m special with their cutesy greeting: “Welcome back, Vanessa! We have recommendations for you.” I love that I can get books here for almost half the cover price, and I love seeing just how little I can spend over the $39 mark to qualify for FREE Super Saver Shipping. I love pre-ordering stuff, which makes me feel like I’m ahead of all the other literary plebes, and I love ripping open my package when it comes in the mail. So, Amazon marketing team, mission accomplished — pat yourselves on the back. Hard. I’ve succumbed to all of it.

Until now! Obviously, buying books online like this creates pollution from shipping trucks and/or planes, not to mention the packaging and paper required to make the books in the first place. So I’m logging off all online bookstores for the next 283 days.

I’m also abstaining from purchasing anything from the big chain bookstores, and while I will try not to buy as many books — because there are tons on my shelf I still haven’t read yet — I believe in supporting local, independent stores. So if I desperately need the latest Atwood, Franzen or Pollan, I’ll walk next-door to Type or down the street to Pages.

13 Responses to Fall of the Amazon Woman (Day 81)…

  1. christal says:

    I love amazon, too! But I only buy USED from amazon, and those are usually from small booksellers, also- it contributes nothing new to the waste stream, and finally- the packages that I receive from the indy guys are very small, efficient and sent through the regular postal service. I would encourage you to source used before new at your local stores and if they do not have the items you want- to look again at amazon. perhaps we can all persuade amazon to ship greener and to provide offsets for those who desire them. peace.

  2. Does this mean you might actually start BORROWING/LENDING books too?

  3. gettinggreen says:

    Haha, Meg I will lend you my copy of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, only because I know you’ll give it back… but I’m still not going to borrow anything… must… buy… everything….

  4. Lori V. says:

    Well, Vanessa, another change I shan’t make yet… teenage daughter needed a book for one of her classes in a matter of days, so of course I turn to Amazon, and somehow end up falling for the Amazon Prime yearlong free shipping deal. 😦 (I also must admit I sort of like sticking it to “the man” when it comes to sales tax…)

  5. lis says:

    Hi, did you realise that the paper/publishing industry is the 4th biggest emitting manufacturing industry after chemicals, coal and petroleum and the primary metals industries – this means mega carbon emissions whenever you buy anything made of paper that isn’t recycled paper … it’s almost as bad as burning coal. This is partly because paper is the by product of clear cut logging which releases carbon after topsoil is destroyed, and it also requires a lot of electricity to pulp wood to make paper … not to mention all the travel miles, printing etc

    We should all be demanding the industry moves to recycled paper or we simply will not buy anything …. a moratorium on buying will do the trick!

  6. Lori V. says:

    My big question is this: Is it better to buy 2 new books & have them delivered in the same box, or buy 2 used books from 2 different sellers and have them delivered in 2 different packages on 2 different trucks? All part of the trade-offs I’m always talking about.

    I understand the industry and the pollution issues mentioned by lis, but I also understand that one’s proximity to quality second-hand bookstores is key to being able to reject the online alternatives. I would have to drive an hour to reach a decent second-hand bookstore that would even have a prayer of carrying some of the books I use.

    Don’t get me wrong. A huge portion of my books go back into circulation through BookCrossing, donation, or lending/giving away. And I do, indeed, buy second-hand when I can find it, but sometimes it just isn’t possible.

    Another good alternative for text-only books (i.e. not art, photography, etc.) is to buy them from iTunes for your iPod.

  7. Support your local library!! I can’t remember when I last purchased a book. (Disclaimer: I did receive some for Christmas.) The library is so easy! Reserve your books online, receive an e-mail when they are ready, and pick them up at the front desk.

  8. christal says:

    yeah riley & tiki’s mom!! true, true…. I was just about to post a library related comment when I saw yours! and (gasp!) the library is FREE!

  9. Hellcat13 says:

    Ditto on the library comments. I’ve saved A LOT of money on books over the past three years by frequenting my local library. I peruse Amazon’s best seller lists, pop on over to my online library account, and order my book. If you truly love the book and want to add it to your collection, you can always hit an independent bookstore to make the purchase, but for me, at least, those purchases are few and far between.

  10. John E says:

    buying online actually saves on pollution since delivery men will be coming by your area anyways.

  11. Cynthia says:

    As a child, I read the library through. As an adult, I bought my books (it was cheaper than paying all of the late fines). Recently, I have rediscovered the library again through training for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. Going to your local library is good for you (excersice/sun/fresh air), and the environment (obvious multiple reasons). The only problem now, leaving without the entire library in my bag!

  12. tereza says:

    I’m backreading your blog, as you can see by the fact that it’s august, but what can I say, it’s very interesting. If you want an ecofriendly way to get books, try paperbackswap.com. you send people your old books (you do have to pay the postage) in return for credit which you use to pick other people’s old books, which you get for free. of course, they may not have what you want, and sending people your books might be a hassle, but it seems useful to me.

  13. whitney says:

    http://www.ecolibris.net/ is my solution! you can plant a tree for every book you read! amazing right!?

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