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Amazon may be the most convenient way to shop but it certainly isn’t the most ethical. The smaller price tag and promise of next day delivery can be enticing but there are so many other local alternatives to buying books. 

 

Amazon’s monopoly over online shopping crushes independent retailers that our high-streets would be empty without. Jeff Bezo’s wealth has been described as ‘obscene’ – earning more than $13 billion in a single day in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. He is the CEO of Amazon and his company threatens our local retailers that are just as important. Amazon’s profit soared in lockdown, widening the gap further between Amazon and smaller businesses without the means to stay open. Amazon is well-known for avoiding taxation as well; so choosing to shop through smaller tax-paying companies will benefit the recovering economy much more. 

 

Workers are also exploited and don’t receive a fair salary in return for their workload. It is hard to think that in a developed country like the UK, these unfair working conditions still occur on a day-to-day basis, but this is the reality and it’s time to give back to local businesses. 

 

Amazon may have started as a bookshop but it’s time to go back to traditional booksellers; brand new or second hand, online or in-store. 

 

Waterstones – Nottingham Centre and online. 

If you missed mooching around bookshops in lockdown, now is your chance to go again. There is nothing quite like the tables of ‘buy one get one half price’ that you are greeted with as you walk in the door. A slightly more expensive option but you get what you pay for in terms of quality and choice. 

 

Oxfam Books – Nottingham Centre, Beeston. 

Even though the selection may be less extensive than Amazon or Waterstones, if you don’t want to spend a fortune on books and don’t mind buying second-hand, head to Oxfam. The profits go back to the charity so your bookworm nature benefits more people than you may think. 

 

Five Leaves Bookshop – Nottingham Centre. 

An independent bookshop in the centre of Nottingham that specialises in independent publishers. It’s just off an alleyway so it can be easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. But it’s definitely one of Nottingham’s hidden gems. Five Leaves also has a website where you can browse their stock or shop online. Five Leaves is the perfect example of a bookshop that offers a personal touch, as they offer a mystery book service where you give them a brief and a budget and in return, you receive books that they recommend. Having not really seen this offered elsewhere, it’s definitely a great personal touch from a local bookshop. 

 

Hive – online supporting the local.

This online bookshop offers the convenience of Amazon, while supporting local bookshops. It works by donating a percentage of the profits to a local bookshop of your choosing. Hive offers paperbacks, eBooks, DVDs, CD, vinyl and audiobooks with free delivery and also a student discount. The Nottingham based shops that it donates a percentage of profits towards are Page 45 (a graphic novel and comic shop) and Five Leaves. 

 

World of Books – online

I came across World of Books when trying to find the cheapest way to get the texts for my course, without access to the library. Like Hive, they offer free delivery and also have reduced prices for their second-hand copies. Just because their books are second-hand doesn’t mean you have to wait a long time for the newest bestsellers to come into stock. They also recently launched AuthorSHARE which allows writers to receive royalties on second-hand copies which offer authors a fairer deal and buyers a lower price. 

Vicki Mileson

Nottingham '23

20, University of Nottingham. Third year Modern Languages student. Writing about university life, book recommendations and travel.
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