Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The New Thing I Like to Call "Amazon-Shaming"

***Just to make this clear up front, this is a generalized post, this is not about any one person or anything like that. This is something that has been on my mind for a while and after dealing with the same thing over and over I finally decided to write this post. This may be a controversial piece for some, which is fine but any RUDE or unnecessary comments will not be tolerated.This is a happy, drama free blog. :D ***

So we all know about the big issues happening between Hatchette and Amazon. I'm not really here to talk about that but to talk about the things I'm starting to notice between readers since then. I am a Prime Member on Amazon. I have used them for YEARS to support my book and movie/tv show buying habit. There have always been great advantages to using them, such as their unbeatable prices and free shipping. I've also never had any issue with them what so ever. During Christmas their lightening deals help me get all the gifts I want for our one income, family of five PLUS everyone in my family outside of the home gifts. This makes me absolutely happy because I can do all of that and not be broke afterwards. Amazon has been good to me.

Anyways back to the book topic...I buy a TON of books. A TON! In one week alone this month I bought 20. It happens. Those 20 I bought from a Barnes and Noble and my Indie Store. Both of these stores are an hour+ away from me. So once I factored in the extra costs plus gas I paid quite a bit more than I usually would say if I had ordered from Amazon. Why did I do this? Well I try to support bookstores (both of them) at least once a month AND because since all the uproar over Amazon lately I've been trying to steer away from them. I don't agree with what they are doing. They are greedy and I find them quite unethical. BUT I'm slowly starting to figure out for me, in my situation, it is not feasible for me to NOT use Amazon. It's just not. Now while most of you may go, okay that's fine, we get it, I've noticed that a lot of people don't get it, and there has been introduced "Amazon-shaming". 

"Amazon-Shaming": the act of making one feel small, and ashamed from buying things off Amazon.

I've gotten to where I get nervous even saying on twitter than I buy books from Amazon, then you get a line of people telling you that you should use indies, libraries, etc. Thats great, I wish I could consistently use nothing but these people, I do, BUT I can't afford $10 more on each hardcover book I buy. I can't drive an hour+ to the bookstore every week for books. When I need to pre-order a book I want it the day is releases (Amazon gets it to me), not several days later. I want free shipping. I want to KNOW I can buy the books I want when I want to buy them and not drive that hour+ to be told "oh we don't have that, let me order it for you", while that may be fine for some that means ANOTHER hour+ drive for me to get that book when it comes in because my indie doesn't ship. Gas isn't cheap, I can't afford this. This is not a feasible option for me and my family. Now I have tried to use Barnes and Noble for pre-orders, regular orders, etc, issue there is pre-orders don't get to me on release day (which to me is the point of pre-ordering) and they have the worst customer service I have ever dealt with to be honest. In my opinion I can't say that Barnes and Noble is any better than Amazon when it comes to caring about their customers. At least with Amazon I'm helping myself in a way, and at Barnes and Noble I'm doing nothing but helping them because I'm paying more out of pocket for their books. I could have just stayed my butt at home, ordered that book for cheaper and not had to deal with their crap. 

Okay now that I've told you all my "excuses" for the shopping part lets get to the next thing people tend to throw at me...."well there are libraries". Why yes, there are. They are lovely and great and you can borrow all the books you want for FREE....except not all of us live near great libraries. Not all of us have these huge libraries to go to that have all the books or can order whatever you request. Not all of us have interlibrary systems. Not all of us even have eBook library systems. How do I know that? Well that's MY situation. I live in a SMALL town whose library doesn't have a big budget. The YA section is minuscule and the books there are nothing new. When you ask for a newer release you can almost bet they can't because no budget is there. EBook system is something mine is currently trying to start up, does that guarantee I will have access to ALL the books? Probably not, but we will see. But also I don't want to read eBooks constantly, they give me headaches and I like my real books and I want to OWN the books I love. So yes if the eBook was available I could borrow it and not have to deal with the pre-ordering issues and could possibly even wait until the book is on sale (not that my Barnes and Noble has much of a sales section EVER) but the issue with this for me is authors need those first week sales, those are important to them and their book so I like to buy my books that first week! 

I'm just getting really disappointed to see how so many people can see this situation as such a black and white issue when it is anything but. I feel like I'm doing the best I can in supporting my indie and trying to budget the best I can and support the authors at the same time. I don't like feeling like I need to hide the fact I use Amazon for books or feel ashamed for it even. I shouldn't. I mean I loathe Walmart, they are a corrupt business in many ways, I loathe them so much I don't shop there. I refuse to. But I have this option, I realize not everybody does but I would never make anyone feel small for shopping there. Everyone has a different situation and I just wish everyone would realize this and keep that in mind. For me, on my situation, I'm slowly realizing its just not realistic for me to drop Amazon all together. While this as a consumer makes me feel stuck, there isn't much choice for me. 

Now if you do have any really good book sites you order from with comparable prices please feel free to share! I'm always open to more options I just don't want to feel ashamed and made out as a bad person because I use Amazon. 


  1. I have the exact same issue as you. I buy lots of books and Amazon is hard to beat, but I often get told I shouldn't buy from them. And I get the reasons why, I do, but there isn't a good alternative for me. The fact is, I don't spend less on buying books from Amazon - they're cheaper so I buy more of them. I'd have to significantly reduce the number of books I buy if I stopped using Amazon, and I don't want to do that.

    I will recommend the, though. It has free worldwide shipping, although it's not especially fast, and the prices are often competitive against Amazon's. Sometimes they're not, but sometimes they beat Amazon.

    1. Thats because Amazon owns the Book depository

  2. Ha I use Amazon for a ton of things and like you I really can't afford to do otherwise. On top of everything you said I have no car to worry about gas to drive the hour+ to my B&N (we have one car and hubby uses it for work which this week means he is on the other side of the state for the whole week) 90% of the time it's either Amazon or nothing so no shaming here and I really couldn't care what the more well to do say about it. Yeah they are treating the whole Hatchette very badly and yeah they may not be the best company out there but very few companies are all good or bad almost none. As for Hatchette books Amazon doesn't stop stop me from buying them they just stop me from buying the books from amazon it's their loss not Hatchette as far as it goes for me. I think the big deal with it is because of the Booktube implosion we have been experiencing in the last week about their wishlists. Which is another whole Non-issue blown out of proportion in my opinion.

  3. Thank you for this post!! I actually haven't been paying attention to the whole deal with Amazon. I just know a lot of people are angry with them. I think I'll go get acquainted with the news now. But I'm also like you, where I have to drive over an hour just to get to a bookstore. It's Barnes & Noble, and it's the closest one to me. Unless I want to go to Target, but their selection is small. And as a college student with no job at the moment, Amazon just has those unbeatable prices that I can't pass up. Plus, I have prime. I've been able to buy more books with them than I would at B&N. It's just not plausible for me to switch right now.

  4. I don't have many options either, so I order from the bookdepository (isn't that amazon also?) and Amazon. I live in the Netherlands and there is one online store that has English books, but the delivery time is so long I don't normally bother. It's a pity there aren't more options. Amazon is also good for some authors as they're making more money than they otherwise would have and they're getting more exposure. It's a pity people make you feel ashamed about where you buy your books, they should praise you for the fact that you're buying books. Which means you're supporting authors.

  5. Crystal, I totally feel you on this. And this is coming from someone who does have a fantastic library near her, and a fantastic indie store within reasonable driving distance. I still use Amazon a lot, and still buy books from them. I do think what they are doing with Hachette is wrong, but like you, I still have to think about budgets and money. I always make a point to go to many of my indie store's events and buy at least one book from them each time I'm there, but I would probably just buy fewer books in general if I didn't buy from Amazon. I don't think anyone should shame anyone else for buying from different places. I think this could even be expanded to other life decisions. Things are always more complicated than how people make things black and white.

    Thanks for this post and making these great observations!

  6. I think this is one of the best blog posts I had read for a LONG time! You are so right about this. It’s not just black and white; you can’t just say “Because!” and win this discussion. Most of all because it’s really not a real discussion to have. People can buy their books exactly where they want to. Personally I don’t think that anyone should just anyone. A book is a book. But most people like to get their buying’s as cheap as possible. I do to. And if Amazon is the cheapest way, then I buy it there.

    I live in Denmark and here we don’t take part of the whole Amazon/Hachette discussion. BUT a lot of people are talking about how wrong it is to buy books at Amazon when you can buy them in a “real” bookstore. Now, I’m a bookseller. I am educated in selling books for a living and yes: It would be lovely if anyone bought their books in our bookshop. It would. Of course. But they don’t, either because the prizes are too high or because we don’t have what they need. And I’m actually okay with that. If you want people to buy books at your store you need to give them what they want: Cheap prizes, good service, all the books they want to buy or something else.

    I look at the Amazon/Hachette case in the same way: Well, yeah if I want a Hachette book it’s too bad and I need to buy it someplace else. Otherwise I’m still buying it at Amazon if they are cheaper/faster than anybody else. And they are, most of the time, especially because I live in a country where we don’t have THAT many English books in the stores. Besides I believe that this case isn’t much different from so many other cases before that: The big fish who have the money and power to eat the small fish wins. That’s life, no matter if you like it or not. I’m not saying that Amazing is completely amazing and never make mistakes but I think that sometimes you just need to see the things in color, not just black and white. And sometimes you need to fight for the right things and ignore other things. Other times you just need to live with something because you can’t do anything else. And people should never judge you because of that.

  7. I totally agree with you. I would much rather people get the books they want and be able to read them. Frankly, although I don't agree with Amazon's business practices, i'm a Prime member and buy a lot of things from them. I'm on a tight budget and they generally seem to have better prices. I'm also lucky to have an awesome library system that I can use for ebooks and regular books. They will also order a majority of the books that get requested. I just want people to live and let live. There are so many things in life that make people feel bad about themselves. Lets not make buying books a stressful thing. You do what's right for you and your family. Great post!

  8. Thank you so much for writing this post, Crystal. The biggest reason that I haven't really said much on the topic is that my family does still rely on Amazon, not just for books. I do have a pretty great library, which has a great interloan system, there's a B+N nearby (there used to be a Borders), and once in a while, I can go into NYC and buy some books from Strand or Books of Wonder or McNally Jackson or etc. But the thing is, almost all the books I buy are from my own wallet. I'm just in high school, and my only source of money is the little I make from tutoring and the monthly allowance I get. But that money is also for going to the movies, eating out with friends, buying club shirts and other stuff for school, etc. So for me, Amazon really is the best option. I try to buy a book or two if I'm at a signing, but sometimes, I just really can't afford it. And I think a lot of people forget that. I do want to support other book stores and authors, but it's not necessarily feasible for me. It doesn't mean that I don't try. Once in a while, I've bought books from Target, B+N, Books of Wonder, etc. I just can't do it all the time and give up on Amazon. Plus, like you said, there are a lot of perks to Amazon that you can't ignore. My sister and I are both going to college very soon, and my dance expenses are a lot for my parents. Adding to that, the cost of living on Long Island is really high and only my dad works. Amazon is so helpful for us, especially around the holiday season like you mentioned.

    I don't think it's fair for others to judge us for using Amazon. Because sometimes, it's the best option. And sometimes, people forget that. So thank you for talking about this.

  9. Bravo! I wasn't quite that aware of this going on, but can see where it would. People need to understand that there are different economic situations for us all. I too, buy from amazon. I at one point was reading a book a day. So for me to spend $20+ on a book is not possible. I would MUCH Rather there be a way to directly invest in my authors and even publishers. As u oft buy the same ones over and over.

    I have felt guilty because I and I'm ducking right now do the unthinkable and eek buy used books. Seems to me that amazon could pay out a percentage towards the publishers, authors etc. But we know that's likely not to happen.

    I realize it's my own bad choices that have lead me to the economic situation I now find myself in. Pkus lack of opportunity. Have been working very hard at changing our situation, but it's definitely not done over night!!!
    Thanks for your awesome feedback. The way I see it, many bloggers don't even pay a dime at all for their books. Which is fine, but if someone isn't educated enough to know that there are truly those in a worse off economic situation then more fool for them. I wouldn't worry so much about them. After all, one thing I have learned is you will never be able to make everyone happy!!

  10. I hear you! It's impossible to avoid 100% for me as well. I love my library and would love to support them more but I need to own my copies of books (my favorites). I have a ton of shelves that need to have all the pretty hardcovers of all the books I love. Library books don't do this for me. My indie shop is an hour away as well. They do ship but it's not as cheap as Amazon and the free shipping thing. I try to support them as much as possible though. I love the I agree...we are all book lovers that want to support our favorite authors.

  11. Shaming is sad.

    For me, I buy almost exclusively from Amazon. When an author friend's book is pubbed, I'll make an extra effort to hunt down a real book from an indie shop or B&N, but for me, I'm all about ebooks. I adore my kindle. It's the paperwhite edition and I can read before bed without bothering my husband with a light (even a small light).

    I also like to pre-order books, and I get excited when they pop up on my kindle. I'm not much for waiting and find myself frustrated with my local library. Plus, as someone who has her fingers crossed to one day have her own book pubbed (read faster, editors! haha), I prefer to buy (to help boost sales) rather than borrow.

    And like you, I'm a prime member and use the free, two-day shipping A LOT. It's just so darn convenient.

    With all that being said, another thing that's sad is how Amazon is throwing it's weight around. I'm not really sure what else to say about that (to be honest), but I don't think you should feel bad about buying from them.

    I hope the pubs and Amazon are able to work things out and let us readers continue to enjoy our books.

  12. I agree wholeheartedly. As with many issues there are too many people who view things as "all or nothing". If everyone tried to buy a couple of books elsewhere, or took titles from authors they weren't familiar with from the library (as you are doing), it would make a bigger dent in Amazon's pocket than a few well-off readers totally boycotting the company. More people can, and will, participate in a cause if they are given the option to do what they can when they can. My first taste of being Amazon "shamed" came a few days ago when I "purchased" the free prequel novella to Midnight Thief. Hey, I am a single mom trying to get my son through college without taking out any loans. I do what I can, when I can, to support indies and my library, and that is all I expect from anyone else. Great post girl!!

  13. Any kind of shaming is wrong and people need to get lives. Seriously though I still shop on Amazon for the reasons you stated. I have a kindle so it is the most convenient and cheap option. Sux that you have to explain yourself to hipsters.

  14. I can understand and support unhappy authors cause what Amazon is doing with Hachette is wrong and rather unfair for those authors and books. And I understand how important it is to support indie bookstores and smaller companies instead of the big corporations, but as you said we can't all do that all the time. We all make the best choices we can depending on our circumstances.

    I live in Spain and bookstores here barely have books in English! So the easiest way to get books for me is via a Kindle or a tablet with a Kindle app, also if I want to get books in physical form on release day or very close by, ordering from Amazon ES is the best option. The Book Depository is great and has free shipping and prizes are very competitive BUT, the books never get here on release day, preordered or not. If I'm lucky they will arrive on Friday of release week and more often than not, they'll arrive the week after! =(

    As Julie said, shaming is never ok!

    1. Just FYI, I was recently informed that Amazon owns TBD, Pili.

  15. I agree with you!! I buy from Amazon all the time and I didn't even realize that there was sham attached to that. Why? because were all doing the same by buying the book aren't we? I still support my bookstores, for the big main books that I have to have on my shelf because I have been collecting them for a while. But if you buy everything in hardcover/paperback well that starts to take up a whole lot of room and a lot of money. Thanks for posting this! Your awesome!

  16. Thank you everyone for commenting! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that feels this way and I even had some people contact me personally saying thank you for posting this because they feel the same way! Lots of love for you guys ♥

  17. Well, you know I have strong feelings about this, Crystal, but I hope you never feel like I shamed you because I am a true liberal in the "live-and-let-live" sense. I do what I feel is right for me and when people don't know things, like why they have to wait 4 weeks for their pretty copy of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, then I inform them. But I never expect anyone to live the same way I do, because how can I possibly know what is right for someone else? Also, some 75% of my book's sales seem to be coming via Amz, easy answers :/

    But I do think whether or not Hachette caves that this:

    "I want to KNOW I can buy the books I want when I want to buy them..."

    could be in serious jeopardy in the future if things continue the way they are going. Hachette isn't the first publishing group to be affected by Amz and they won't be the last. But I am sorry you have been made to feel bad for looking out for your family <3

  18. I totally feel what you are saying. I live in a small town and the nearest bookstore is over 3 hours away so there's no way to justify driving that far and using that much gas just to pay more for the books.

    Yes, I do have a library but their YA selection sucks. Not to mention the fact that I like to own the books that I love so on the off chance that the library has a book that I want to read and then I fall in love with it, I'm going to buy it anyway.

    I look at the books when I go to Wal-Mart, but most of the time the only ones that they have is The Hunger Games and the Divergent book and I already own those.

    So, Amazon it is for me...

  19. Amazon has been my best friend since college and will remain so. I buy everything I can on Amazon, including toilet paper, medicine, shampoo, etc. I get every single dollar I can out of their low prices and free prime shipping.

    Don't feel guilty, because obviously MILLIONS of people use them or they wouldn't be the mega conglomerate that they are. I see no reason to shame people who are spending money buying books. Let's shame people who steal and pirate them. Or better yet, let's just leave everyone alone and let them read! <3


I would love to hear from you! I try to always comment back :)