People are always talking about how Amazon is 'killing' the independent bookshop, and nowhere is this more obvious than in my adopted county of Kent. Currently in Kent there is a grand total of ONE independent bookshop selling new books, and then there is Waterstones. And that is it. There are a fair number of second hand bookshops and charity shops selling books, which is great, but I can't help but feel that the fault lies (mainly) with online shopping in general, and with Amazon in particular. From the point of view of books, Amazon and The Book Depository are definitely the cheapest and easiest ways to get hold of things, and I know I'm very guilty of using them both when I just must have a title right then and there. Also I use Amazon for the purpose of gift buying and sending RAK's, but this is about to change, I hope.
In 2011 in the UK the British Bookshops chain has closed, leaving the high street for the most part without a 'cheap' alternative to Waterstones for new books. In the US, the Borders chain which vanished in the UK in 2009, has given up altogether. All in all, it's not been a great year for bookshops. Although I am not saying that all of this is entirely Amazon's fault, they are definitely benefiting from it, and recently they did something very stupid, that I don't really want to get into because it makes me angry, and if you don't know what I'm referring to you can check it out here - Richard Russo and co put it much better than I ever could!
This actually enraged me. I quite frequently get upset about the state of the world and how horrible people are to each other. Personally, it bothers me that online shopping is destroying communities. I don't want to live in a world where the only option is to shop online or in big, anonymous superstores. I like the personal service. I love that there are still bookshops you can go in and talk to staff who genuinely adore books, and who will talk recommendations with you for ages and get excited about passing on the books that they love. Yes, there is 'Amazon Recommends', but it really isn't the same...
Because of this, I have decided to combine my 2012 book buying ban (which will, let's face it, probably fail drastically at some point during the year) with a boycott of Amazon. For this, I am going to attempt not to use Amazon at all for anything during 2012. I am also going to try to do most of my shopping in the real world, rather than on the internet. I am hoping that for this I can actually last out the entire year. I have no illusions that by doing this I will be making any great impact, but personally I think that I will feel better to be less hypocritical. To put my money where my mouth is and to say no to Amazon and online retailers putting people out of jobs, and preventing me from being able to talk books with equally geeky people. If ever I do have children, I wouldn't want to bring them into a world without bookshops. That would just be depressing. If anybody wants to join me they are more than welcome! Wish me luck!
What are your thoughts about the online shopping phenomenon? Does Amazon make you angry or do you love it with a passion?