If you’ve been here before you’re probably returning for my ethical book search tool 👇
If this is your first visit, welcome! This ‘jump to’ menu might help you find what you’re looking for 👇
Why not Amazon?
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, this page alternative places to buy online. By subscribing to my newsletter you can also receive discount codes for some of these places to make it even cheaper. Still unsure what’s so bad about Amazon? Wiki list a few things.
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.
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.
Win Book Vouchers
I’m giving away £20 book vouchers to every one in 30 people who submit to my bookseller satisfaction survey. To enter simply buy a book through my search tool and complete my survey (UK visitors only). Read more and submit to the survey here.
The Amazon Alternatives for Books
Please support your local, independent book shop where possible. If you need to buy online I’ve got you covered. Simply search for your book using my ethical book search tool at the top of this page. You can perform a single search for any book and see results from various ethical book stores.
Listed below are the bookstores included in the search tool and a bit more about them. They are ordered by rank.
The rankings originally came from a survey I carried out in 2017 rating the consumer experience of the top ethical online book sellers. I came out with a definitive TOP 10 list of ethical online booksellers.
The rankings are now constantly updated thanks to ongoing survey submissions by people like you who buy books using the ethical book search tool and then participate in my ongoing survey.
The booksellers (in order of ranking)
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.
Bookshop.org – Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. By design, they give away over 75% of their profit margin to stores, publications, authors and others who make up the thriving, inspirational culture around books. Bookshop is a B-Corp – dedicated to the public good.
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.
WHSmith score 11 out of 20 with Ethical Consumer. Established in 1792, they started out as family-run newsagents before becoming the first retail chain in the world.
The Works score 10 out of 20 with Ethical Consumer. They are one of the UK’s leading multi-channel specialist retailers which includes books.
Waterstones score 8.5 out of 20 with Ethical Consumer and are the UK’s largest book shop chain. For context Amazon score a big fat 0.
Other options not yet in the search tool
AwesomeBooks – Awesome Books donate a book to a global literacy project for every book purchased.
Biblio – Biblio support independent, community businesses and are dedicated to a triple bottom line.
Booksellers in the search tool for the rest of the world
You can use my search tool if you are in Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as the UK. Results from any eligible booksellers already listed above will display as well any of the relevant sellers to your country listed below.
Bookshop North America (USA & Canada) – Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.
Thrift Books (USA) – Thrift sell used books at low prices with a focus on three core tenets of charitable support, environmental impact and literacy.
Libro.fm (USA) – Libro FM makes it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through local bookstores.
Raven Book Store (USA) – An independent bookshop based in Lawrence, Kansas.
City of Asylum Book (USA) – An nonprofit, independent bookstore in Pittsburgh committed to promoting freedom of expression.
McNallyRobinson (Canada) – Independent book seller with stores in Winnipeg and Saskatoon.
Vic Books (NZ) – Owned by the Victoria University Students Association Trust with bookshops in Kelburn and Pipitea.
Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. People often get caught out using Abe Books or The Book Depository when trying to avoid Amazon.
They are both Amazon companies.
Alternatives to other Amazon services
I’ve encountered many people who try to avoid Amazon and use both ‘Abe Books’ and ‘The Book Depository’ not realising they are owned by Amazon. Aside from booksellers here are some alternatives to other Amazon services:
The StoryGraph – As an alternative reading list platform to GoodReads (Amazon) try The StoryGraph for tracking your reading and choosing your next book.
For an alternative eReader to Kindle, Bookeen score 9 out of 20 in Ethical Consumer Magazine while Kobo score 7. For context Kindle gets 0. My search tool at the top of this page includes results for ebooks.
The Bookeen website is mostly in French so it’ll help if you can speak French to order. Otherwise use a translation tool. The Bookeen Diva eReader does have an English dictionary integrated as well as a manual in English available. The Bookeen Diva is described as instinctive as a tablet but so much more comfortable for the reader.
Kobo’s award-winning eReaders are comfortable, convenient, designed especially for booklovers, and their range includes two waterproof models.
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.
&Keep – Plastic-free shop who believe in goods for the home & you that are mindfully sourced, eco-friendly & sustainable.
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.
Alternatives to Other Companies
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