***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 ***
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.