I’ve been musing on this one for a while, and I wondered what everyone else thought about book buying etiquette for the 21st century. This is entirely my own musings, so please feel free to point out if I’m wrong, or if I’ve missed something glaringly obvious.
For the sake of this post, and because I know little about electronic books, lets pretend e-books and e-readers don’t exist, and we’re living in a non-virtual book-buying world. Today we are hypothetically going shopping for real life books, and there are a lot of considerations.
Support the Writer?
Firstly, one’s consideration might be Is the author still alive?
If the answer is yes, it might be nice to give them some money in the most direct way possible. Perhaps the best place to buy this book would be at a book signing, direct from their publisher, or from the author’s personal website. Next best might be from your local independent book shop.
Last resort: a supermarket. Tesco don’t need your money.
Support the Book Shop?
If the author is dead (and therefore not in need of your direct cash to supply their cups of tea and central heating), maybe it’s time to support your local independent or secondhand book shop.
Support the Environment?
If you don’t have a local secondhand or independent bookshop, as sadly is beginning to be more and more common, or if you’re unable to leave the house because two inches of snow fell over night and OH MY GOD I’M SNOWED IN, perhaps the internet could help.
Support the Charity?
And here’s a question: what about charity shops? It’s very nice to be able to support a charity, and it’s great to be picking up books for anything from 50 pence to £4, but how are their low prices and abundant stock impacting the independent book selling market? I worry about this.
And what about Amazon? I get the feeling that bookshops are a bit cross with the behemoth of Amazon. Should we avoid book shopping with them? Should they be lumped in with supermarkets as a last resort?