With the colossus that is Amazon dominating the book market online, the rest of us can only sit back and watch. Or do we? No, there's plenty out there to choose from, we just need to know where they are. It's so easy to go to the place everyone knows about and follow the standard routine, but sometimes it can be like looking for a diamond in a glass recycling plant. In other words, when we know what we want, it's easy to get it, and sometimes an alternative vendor is going to serve us more precisely. After-all, it's not difficult to get work onto Amazon,and that means quality control is down to the author. Other bookshops are a bit more discerning. Here's some of them, and why.
Alibris are fairly big, and they cater in books, music, film, and gifts. They're an American company and everything is aimed at this market. It's a massive site with hundreds of millions of items for sale, listed in really great ways that make things pretty simple. The photography works well, and the extra bit of effort to present the site well makes it look like a bookshop you can enjoy browsing in, even if it is only online. The discerning element means that the stuff by the small timers (like me) doesn't necessarily make it onto the shelf. I would expect there is a team somewhere doing the job of choosing from the thousands per day that get uploaded. A textbook buyback service adds another wing to their site, and this handy tool for students mean their investments can be returned in kind at the end of the course.
Alternative bookshop, Wordery, are based in the UK but offer free delivery to over 100 countries worldwide. Books are their bag, and their selection is discerning and varied. They do sell some self-published titles, but not all. It's an easy site with very few controls and menu options, seeing as they are really all about one thing. The catagories are simple and offer really deep searches down to all kinds of book info, as you would expect. Their blog page talks about books with a sense of real affection, and all the imagery is homely in style. It does give the sense of wanting to make it our regular place with this effect.
It's a little known fact that Microsoft have their own bookshop. Makes sense really, and it would probably be assumed they did but it's not mentioned much. Microsoft Press are the source of all related literature products, which means they have hundreds of titles, maybe more. There's a lot of scope to it, more than an operating system, and the obvious other programs they have such as Office, XBox, and MovieMaker. The programming side and the software side cover the whole range of functions, apps, and software releases so anyone who needs to know, can know. Because there's no second retailer, getting the work from them means the prices are often more agreeable.
For rare books, or books that have a special meaning, or unique edge that makes them extra special, then Abe willbe the ones to ask.They are worldwide serving, and based in the UK. They love to show the kooky side of books and will tend to stock only those that raises an eyebrow. The specialist titles and obscurities make this a really fun place to browse, and research titles. The weird book room is the place where they list titles we'd never know were there so would never search for them. I love this page as it's always fun to see what they have.
When a section of the profits go to charity, it is always a good thing. Betterworld Books aim to fund literacy programs worldwide, perhaps so more people can buy their books, but most of all, they really seem to care about reading. And so they should, being a book shop, their online presence stretches to other marketplaces, but their main site is where most of the action can be found, including the charitable work. It is well worth taking a look, and with a large stock of all kinds of new and used offerings, any reader can find a way to do their bit.
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