I love books.
I’ve always loved books. I still have my children’s dictionary from when I was in first grade.
As well as dozens of paperbacks I read when I was in high school and college.
I would spend hours at the public library. In college, I worked at the university library as well as the public library.
When I volunteered at our public schools, I naturally found my way to volunteer at the school library.
Taught Junior Great Books for two years at the grade school.
Years ago, when we chose to buy our house, one of the criteria that helped me decide the house was for us: a nearby bookstore served warm cookies to customers.
Sadly, the bookstore closed within two years of us buying our house.
But we had a “Little Professors” bookstore nearby. And a Borders book store opened within walking distance.
I was happy.
Amazon Outcompetes Local Businesses
Then Amazon took over the book industry.
Our small local bookstore closed, no longer able to compete with Amazon’s pricing.
And our local Borders book store closed.
Eventually Amazon branched out to provide more products, like the electronic and digital products our local Radio Shack offered.
Radio Shack also closed.
I was frustrated. I wanted to support our local businesses, but that option was fast disappearing as Amazon kept expanding the products it offered.
At much lower pricing and availability than our local businesses.
Why I No Longer Buy From Amazon
After reading about Amazon workers on food stamps, I was disgusted.
One third of Amazon employees in Arizona need food stamps to feed themselves.
In addition to my frustrations with Amazon for causing our local bookstores to close, how could I support a company that pays their employees so poorly they have to get food stamps?
Then I learned how Amazon pays no taxes to communities where their distribution centers are located, yet daily uses emergency services from the community for their workers.
I chose to no longer buy anything from Amazon.
Stopped cold. No more Amazon purchases for me.
But as a book lover, finding alternatives to Amazon wasn’t easy.
Amazon owns Goodreads, Audible, and produces Kindle. Some of the most popular book lover apps.
Our local book stores had closed.
What other options were there?
Alternatives to Goodreads, Audible, and Kindle
That’s why I was glad to find my colleague Megan Rose tweeted about options for book lovers. Thank you, Megan!
They’re seriously the worst.
Love books? 📚
Audible alternative: @librofm
Kindle alternative: @kobo
Support your library! @LibbyApp
— Megan 🐹 (@megabyterose) March 10, 2021
Here’s more info about the alternatives Megan mentioned.
The StoryGraph is run and built by Nadia Odunayo and Rob Frelow.
- Free to use
- Has a mobile app
- Optional paid Plus plan for users who are looking for more features and a personalized experience
- Offers reading challenges and custom tags for tracking books and discovering new books
- Import your Goodreads data into it.
Italic Type is led by a four-member team: Emily Achler, Jason Skiceqicz, Rachel Hyman, and Kelsey Patterson.
- Free to use
- Available on the web for mobile and desktop
- An iOS app is planned for the future
- Search for books, get inspiration, record notes in a Book Board
- Send recommendations to friends and family members
- Discuss books online
- Italic Type is ad-free and planning a paid subscription to the app
Libro.fm allows you to buy audiobooks directly through local bookstores. You can listen to your audiobooks anytime or anywhere.
- Free account
- Membership costs $14.99/month (as of April 5, 2021), which provides you one audiobook credit per month, as well as 30% off a la carte audiobook purchases
- Offers more than 150,000 audiobooks
- Choose which of the 1,300 independent bookstores you want to support with your purchases
- Audiobooks are digital rights management (DRM)-free
- Anyone can purchase audiobooks and purchase gift memberships
- Profits from audiobooks bought through Libro.fm are split between the independent bookstore and Libro.fm
While Kobo may not have as large a market as Kindle, it offers a number of features and benefits a reader will love.
Including the ability to upload your own books. You’re not tied to one online bookstore.
Note: there are different versions of Kobo eReaders.
- OverDrive built in
- Supports multiple file types, including epub (which Kindle doesn’t support), PDFs, text files, and others
- Syncs ebooks across digital devices
- No advertisements
- Pocket and Dropbox support
- ComfortLightPro (reduces blue light from screen)
- Organize your library as you choose to
Support Your Local Library and Bookstore
In my opinion, there are no better places in your community than your local public library and local bookstore.
Use the Libby app to borrow and read ebooks and audiobooks from your local public library for free.
Sadly, we don’t have any independent bookstores closer than 13 miles away. When we first bought our home, we had eight bookstores within 13 miles of us.
If you’re a book lover or avid reader, you have a slew of choices beyond Amazon to buy, read, discuss, and track books.
Check out the alternatives in this post and let me know how they work out for you. Know of any other alternatives? Share them in the comments.
My thanks to Megan Rose for sharing all the options in her tweet.