Amazon are one of the least ethical companies on the planet.
Some reasons to take our custom away from them are:
- They make billions of pounds in sales but pay workers poverty wages
- They receive more in government subsidies than they pay in tax
- They crush independent retailers that they claim to help
- They employ human beings, but treat them like robots
To make it easy to stop supporting Amazon, below are alternative places to buy online, some of which are taken from Ethical Consumer’s alternatives to Amazon series. By subscribing to my newsletter you can also receive discount codes for these places to make it even cheaper.
The Amazon Alternatives for Books:
I carried out my own survey, rating the consumer experience of the top ethical online book sellers, and came out with a definitive TOP 10 list of ethical online booksellers. Read more about that here.
Using this tool you can perform a single search for any book and see results from all of the ethical book stores I have listed below:
Many of the links to book sellers on this site are affiliate links. I do not allow this to determine which book sellers are listed. The order of the search results is by cheapest first.
Wordery is one of the UK’s largest online independent book shops. They strive to offer the right books at the lowest price with the best service. They pay all of their UK taxes and offer free delivery.
Books etc. – For books these guys tend to be the cheapest and often beat Amazon on price for new books. Plus they offer free UK delivery on every order.
Hive – Hive is a brilliant concept, enabling you to buy books, ebooks, DVD & blu-ray, music, stationery and gifts online in much the same way as on Amazon, but with the twist that every time you make a purchase you are supporting your local independent shop. Free UK Delivery on all orders.
Foyles – A renowned, award-winning independent bookstore with a long history. Order online and collect in store on the same day, or get free delivery.
Better World Books – Better World Books have over 1 million new and used books, textbooks and more at bargain prices with free worldwide delivery worldwide. The also donate a portion of all sales to fund literacy programs.
Blackwells – Trading since 1879, Blackwell of Oxford is the largest academic and specialist bookseller in the UK. They offer free delivery on all orders.
Oxfam Books – Oxfam are the top-rated bookseller on Ethical Consumer magazine’s ‘ethical shopping guide to booksellers’. For paper books, their overall ‘best buy’ option is to buy second hand with Oxfam recommended as the best chain for doing so. As a charity it does well in all of their ratings.
World of Books – World of Books are a B-Corp who sell second-hand books. They are now a ‘Best Buy’ according to Ethical Consumer magazine but were not around when I carried out my own survey.
eBooks – If you’re more of an ebook person then eBooks is the place for you. The eBooks team’s roots are in bookselling, not in technology, so they’re focussed on what readers want over complicated technical things that get in the way of finding the books you really want.
If you’re browsing from America here are two further options:
Bookshop.org – Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.
Libro.fm – Libro FM makes it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through local bookstores.
Films, DVDs & Online Streaming
Love Film Alternatives:
Cinema Paradiso are an independent UK on-line DVD and Blu-ray rental service with a catalogue of over 75,000 titles. They are the most ethical alternative to LoveFilm according to Ethical Consumer magazine (who give Cinema Paradiso a 60% ethical score compared to love film’s 5%). Cinema Paradiso are a long established independent British company who pay all of their UK tax! Sign up today and try it free of charge.
Other Online Retailers:
There are plenty of online retailers with offers featured on my website so do have a browse for their discounts. Below is a list of some of these online stores:
Social Supermarket – Connecting consumers with social enterprises who sell high quality products that tackle important social and environmental challenges.
Ethical Superstore – Feel good choices with thousands of Fairtrade, organic & eco-friendly gifts, gadgets & healthy groceries.
Traidcraft – A huge array of Fairtrade products encompassing; groceries, houseware goods, stationery, toys, gifts, christmas decorations, clothing and jewellery.
Veo World – Earth-friendly marketplace – a place for ethical vendors to sell, and a place for conscious consumers to shop.
Big Green Smile – A range of organic lifestyle products including natural and organic bath and skincare; and household products.
Alternative Online Marketplaces:
OnBuy.com – For consumers who want everything in one place in the way Amazon offers it I have a tentative recommendation in OnBuy. On the surface they certainly seems to have better practices, but as a relatively new player, not yet looked in to by ECRA the jury may still be out.
OnBuy say, “We brand ourselves as an Amazon alternative. We don’t sell and distribute our own products, like Amazon, we never have and never will compete with our own sellers. Our sole vision is to get the both for both sellers and buyers, creating a fair marketplace for all.” They say they were, “born out of a belief that by being fair and transparent”.
OnBuy don’t sell and distribute their own products, meaning their core focus is to get the best for their sellers. The following quote from their CEO suggests they don’t avoid taxes: “We are an ethical company, we support local economies, our offices and staff are in the UK, and we are registered in the UK for corporation tax and VAT. We have no overseas head office taking profit out of our trading locale, either to circumvent or reduce our tax liability.” He is also quoted as saying he, “believes that humans matter”.
OnBuy have a process in which sellers are vetted and verified before they are able to join OnBuy as a seller. There are many cases where OnBuy will request invoices from a seller to verify their right to sell certain goods. In 2017 they ran a news story confirming their web hosting was to be 100% carbon neutral for the next two years. It’s unclear whether that contract has continued or not. They also have a focus on promoting refurbished electronics.
Sometimes these alternatives are cheaper than Amazon, especially when using the codes provided in my newsletter, sometimes they’re the same sort of price, sometimes a little more, but they’re always worth using ahead of Amazon.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Facebook, where your privacy is respected, try Minds and get as many friends signed up at the same time as you in order to make the switch as easy as possible. Minds is a fully open source, decentralised, social networking platform. It started in 2011 with “the goal of bringing a free, open source and sustainable social network to the world”.