Simple Steps to a Better World

Amazon Alternatives

If you’ve been here before you’re probably returning for my ethical bookseller search tool 👇

Countries supported by the 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?

Boycott Amazon
Thank you to Ethical Consumer, who lead the way in the Amazon boycott campaign.

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 suggests 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.

To find out more about Amazon and reasons to stop supporting them visit amazonfree.co.uk and Ethical Consumer’s Boycott Amazon page.

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 give away a £20 book voucher to one in every 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. (Find one using the Booksellers Association’s local bookshop search if you are in the UK or IndieBound’s Indie Bookstore Finder if you are in the US).

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 a combination of their rankings with Ethical Consumer Magazine and our readers’ rankings of consumer satisfaction.

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 and their rankings

Oxfam

Oxfam Books have a wide range of second hand titles available to buy online. (#1 ranking: 50% from score of 11/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction rating)

World of Books

World of Books are a B-Corp who sell second-hand books. (#2 ranking: 50% from score of 14.5/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

Books etc.

Books etc. often beat Amazon on price for new books. Plus they offer free UK delivery on every order. (#3 ranking: 50% from score of 10.5/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

Wordery

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. (#4 ranking: 50% from score of 7/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

Guardian Bookshop

Guardian Bookshop is the online bookshop for The Guardian and The Observer, with over 150,000 titles. (#5 ranking: 50% from score of 11/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

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. They also donate a portion of all sales to fund literacy programs. (#6 ranking: 50% from score of 12.5/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

Biblio.com

Biblio support independent, community businesses and are dedicated to a triple bottom line. (#7 ranking: 50% from score of 12/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

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. (#8 ranking: 50% from score of 9.5/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

WHSmith Books

WHSmith started out as family-run newsagents before becoming the first retail chain in the world. (#9 ranking: 50% from score of 9/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

AwesomeBooks

AwesomeBooks donate a book to a global literacy project for every book purchased. (#10 ranking: 50% from score of 10.5/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

Blackwells Logo

Blackwell’s is the largest academic and specialist bookseller in the UK. They offer free delivery on all orders. (#11 ranking: 50% from score of 9.5/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

Bookshop.org

Bookshop.org are 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. (#12 ranking: 50% from score of 11/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

The Works Books

The Works are one of the UK’s leading multi-channel specialist retailers which includes books. (#13 ranking: 50% from score of 10.5/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

alibris

Alibris have over 270 million books, movies, and albums from thousands of independent sellers worldwide. (#14 ranking: 50% from score of 10/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

Foyles Bookstore

Foyles is a renowned, award-winning independent bookstore with a long history. Order online and collect in store on the same day, or get free delivery. (#15= ranking: 50% from score of 7/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

Waterstones are the UK’s largest book shop chain. (#15= ranking: 50% from score of 7/20 via Ethical Consumer magazine; 50% from your consumer satisfaction ratings)

eBooks

eBooks (12 out of 20 with Ethical Consumer magazine) don’t sell physical books so their ranking is based solely on Ethical Consumer’s rating.

Booksellers in other parts 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.

Australia 🇦🇺

Better World Books sell new and used books at bargain prices with free worldwide delivery worldwide. They also donate a portion of all sales to fund literacy programs.

Biblio Australia supports independent, community businesses and are dedicated to a triple bottom line.

Booktopia are based in Sydney and offer dicounted books.

ebooks are a popular ebook retailer.

Readings is an independent retailer of books, music and film based in Melbourne.

The Book Grocer is an independent, family owned bookseller based in Melbourne.

Awesome Books donate a book to a global literacy project for every book purchased.

World of Books are a B-Corp who sell second-hand books.

Dymocks is a bookstore franchise.

Canada 🇨🇦

Bookshop North America is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.

Indigo is Canada’s largest bookseller.

Libro.fm makes it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through local bookstores.

Audrey’s is an independent book store based in Edmonton.

Black Bond Books is a small chain of family owned bookstores based in British Colombia.

Book City is Toronto’s leading independent bookstore.

McNallyRobinson is an independent book seller with stores in Winnipeg and Saskatoon.

The Bookshelf is an independent bookstore and cinema in Guelph, Ontario.

Ireland 🇮🇪

Blackwells deliver to Ireland.

Charlie Byrne’s is a bookshop in Galway.

Gutter is an independent bookshop in Dublin.

Kenny’s is an independent bookshop in Galway who sell online and ship for free within Ireland.

Liber is a bookshop in Sligo.

Vibes & Scribes are purveyors of new & used books, based in Cork.

Awesome Books donate a book to a global literacy project for every book purchased.

ebooks are a popular ebook retailer.

New Zealand 🇳🇿

Biblio NZ supports independent, community businesses and are dedicated to a triple bottom line.

Booktopia are based in Sydney and offer dicounted books.

ebooks are a popular ebook retailer.

Vic Books is owned by the Victoria University Students Association Trust with bookshops in Kelburn and Pipitea.

Awesome Books donate a book to a global literacy project for every book purchased.

USA 🇺🇸

Biblio USA supports independent, community businesses and are dedicated to a triple bottom line.

Bookshop North America is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.

Libro.fm makes it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through local bookstores.

Thrift Books sell used books at low prices with a focus on three core tenets of charitable support, environmental impact and literacy.

City of Asylum Books is a non-profit, independent bookstore in Pittsburgh committed to promoting freedom of expression.

Mahogany Books is an independent bookstore in Washington that believes in social entreprenuership.

Raven Book Store is an independent bookshop based in Lawrence, Kansas.

Red Emmas are a worker-owned, radical bookstore in Baltimore.

The Bronx Is Reading is a black owned bookstore based in New York.

Also, if you’re in the US check out Threshold’s Amazon Alternatives page.


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…

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.

AbeBooks and Book Depository are Amazon

Alternatives to other Amazon services

Aside from booksellers here are some alternatives to other Amazon services:

Audible Alternatives

Check out these alternatives to Audible:

AudioBooksNow – Stream or download audiobooks from their website, or download them to Android, Nook or Apple iOS apps. 

Downpour – A constantly growing selection of tens of thousands of audiobook titles and DRM-free audiobook downloads.

Kobo – One free audiobook each month and your collection is yours forever, even if you cancel.

Libby – Thousands of audiobooks, curated by your own library, wherever you are.

LibriVox – LibriVox audiobooks are read by volunteers from all over the world and are free for anyone to listen to.

Libro.fm – Support your local bookshop with every purchase and choose from hundreds of thousands of audiobooks.

Nook – Audiobooks purchases are stored in the cloud and you download them when ready to listen.

Goodreads Alternatives

Storygraph

The StoryGraph – As an alternative reading list platform to GoodReads (Amazon) try The StoryGraph for tracking your reading and choosing your next book.

Readerly – A writer, a publisher, and a programmer have built an independent alternative to Amazon-owned Goodreads.

Open Library

Open Library – Not only can you use them like Goodreads, you can import your Goodreads data AND they lend ebooks worldwide for free with over two million free ebooks available.

Kindle Alternatives

For an alternative eReader to Kindle, Bookeen score 9 out of 20 in Ethical Consumer Magazine while Kobo score 5.5. For context Kindle gets 0. My search tool at the top of this page includes results for ebooks.

Libby

Libby is a fantastic app which allows you to borrow and read ebooks and listen to audiobooks from your local public library for free, supporting your library in the process. You just need a valid library card to use it. It is powered by OverDrive, a certified B-Corporation.

Smashwords

Smashwords is the world’s largest ebook publishing and distribution platform for indie authors.

Bookeen eReader

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 eReader

Kobo’s award-winning eReaders are comfortable, convenient, designed especially for booklovers, and their range includes two waterproof models.

Book Publishing Alternatives

Unbound is a crowdfunding publisher. Authors can pitch an idea, rally their crowd in to supporting it and get it out in to the real world.

Films, DVDs & Online Streaming

Other ethical places to shop for films & DVDs online include:
Hive DVDs
Oxfam 2nd hand Music, Film & Video Games
Dogwoof

Love Film Alternatives

Cinema Paradiso

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

Social Supermarket – Connecting consumers with social enterprises who sell high quality products that tackle important social and environmental challenges.

Ethical Superstore

Ethical Superstore – Feel good choices with thousands of Fairtrade, organic & eco-friendly gifts, gadgets & healthy groceries.

&keep

&Keep – Plastic-free shop who believe in goods for the home & you that are mindfully sourced, eco-friendly & sustainable.

Wearth London

Wearth – A conscious online department store where values meet quality and style. Sign up to their newsletter here to receive 5% off your first order.

Traidcraft

Traidcraft – A huge array of Fairtrade products encompassing groceries, houseware goods, stationery, toys, gifts, Christmas decorations, clothing and jewellery.

Veo World

Veo World – Earth-friendly marketplace – a place for ethical vendors to sell, and a place for conscious consumers to shop.

Big Green Smile

Big Green Smile – A range of organic lifestyle products including natural and organic bath and skincare; and household products.


Alternative Online Marketplaces

OnBuy Marketplace

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 best 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 offering transparency, we could create better experiences for both sellers and customers”.

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

Click on the buttons to read more 👇


Comments:

25 Responses to “Amazon Alternatives”

  1. Hi, I live in Italy but a lot of my reading/film viewing is in English. Any thoughts on how I can avoid Amazon (and such like) while being outside the UK. I will explore other avenues closer to home. But Amazon is of course big here too. Thanks, John

  2. Any recommendations for ordering old fashioned music CDs?

    • Hey Natasha. Hive do CDs if you want them new. Oxfam for second hand. Or your local record store for both!

    • In the UK. there are few towns without a second hand record and cd shop. Discogs online is a good way to source harder to find music, too, and has options as to where to purchase from and often is populated by smaller sellers.
      Ian

  3. Thanks for this list 🙂 I think that Foyles has been owned by Waterstones for a couple of years now, but I don’t know anything about their business practices. How ethical are Waterstones?

    • Hi Kate,
      You’re right. Waterstones have an ethiscore of 7 out of 20 with Ethical Consumer’s last round of ratings.
      I will be replicating my original Top 10 ethical bookseller review list soon so will have an updated list for you, including Waterstones and others.
      Cheers,
      Sam

      • Hi Sam, this is so useful thank you. Looking forward to seeing your updated list as I realise a lot can change over a few years, especially like the ownership of companies, and I’m going to use your list to suggest to friends and family before the Christmas online shopping bonanza hits them…

  4. Thanks for putting this site together. Ironically, it came up on page 1 of my Google search for “alternatives to Amazon”.

    My partner and I love the convenience of Amazon, but we are exploring other options given the ethical concerns. One paradox we’re struggling to reconcile is that Amazon does support small businesses, and we would have never heard of some of the companies we’ve bought from without the Amazon storefront. One idea we’ve had is to use the Amazon search engine and then go and find the business’s website, but that still supports the company in minor ways.

    The draw of Amazon and other big companies that federate the search for products across multiple companies is a powerful one. Another is the product reviews. I have to admit that both are key factors that have kept me as a Prime member for years.

    In any case, sites like yours help those of us looking to challenge those assumptions. Cheers.

    • Hi Sapo,

      That’s how they get us, the convenience. This is why we’re developing the ethical bookseller search tool. It’s a start – should make finding books a lot easier: Rather than trawling through all of the ethical booksellers, we are trying to make it easy to search them all in one go (and when you do it’s amazing how often you find that the book you’re searching is actually CHEAPER from an ethical bookseller than Amazon).

      Hopefully, once the book search tool is honed, we can move in to other areas as well.

      Thank you for the feedback – it’s really helpful to know the reasons that people such as yourself continue to use Amazon. This knowledge helps us all find solutions (although there will be a tipping point before then where Amazon change their practices to keep their userbase, which in itself will be a good thing).

      Cheers,
      Sam

  5. I second Sapo’s reasoning. The main reason I continue to use Amazon is because I live in a village without any locals towns. I’d love to live in an adorable little town with cute little independent shops or charity shops but sadly I do not. I’d have to ask for a lift to get to another town to buy what I need and I often fail to find what I need in stores. Additionally, I’m not convinced the retail stores available to me are ethical, which makes me wonder why I would go to that effort instead of ordering what I need online to be delivered the next morning. I know that doesn’t make it right, which is precisely why I’m here. I just had a look at my purchase history on Amazon and I can say that *most* of what we’ve purchased over the last year is fairly difficult to find in town but I do feel guilty about the things which could have been purchased in town. I also use Amazon to order niche pet food that it isn’t availabale from local pet shops. I also have to factor in that a lot of ethical or independent online stores have high delivery fees, which makes it financially difficult for me if I need to order multiple products from different stores, where as Amazon serves me everything on a single plate and delivers it for free the next day. It’s such a shame that Amazon is an unethical giant. I need to find a solution.

  6. Hi, this is a great site, thanks for putting it together. I’ve already changed from Amazon to Hive for all my books. Having issues with some other products though – as Sapo confirms above, I do use Amazon quite often to search for products, then I either copy & paste the description into Ecosia search engine or try to find the seller elsewhere.

    One issue I have, which I find strange and you may be interest in – I ordered a product from OnBuy.com yesterday, which arrived this morning. However, it came packaged in an Amazon box and Amazon invoice! I’ve checked my Amazon account and I definitely didn’t buy the product from there by mistake!

    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the kind words and it’s great you’re now using Hive over Amazon. Do you use my search tool (above) and find the Hive are usually the cheapest? The newly launched Bookshop is also great for supporting local bookshops and they appear in the search results along with Hive and others.

      I am keeping an eye on OnBuy as mentioned in the listing above – little known as yet. Any feedback from anyone is always appreciated. I too have had the issue before having bought something elsewhere and it arriving with Amazon packaging. I will contact OnBuy directly and ask them about this. Given that they style themselves as Amazon Alternatives surely Amazon should not be selling through them. Will write an update here when I get a response.

      Sam

  7. Hi Sam

    I didn’t notice your search tool – I’ll use it next time I’m looking. I’d checked a couple that you had recommended and Hive had more of what I was looking for and at better price. Plus I like their website!

    I was going to hold back until you’d done more research but thought I’d check OnBuy out as it wasn’t a costly product I was looking for so didn’t think it would do much harm if they ended up not too promising. Thought you’d find the information useful as part of your research.

    Keep up the good work!

    Steve

  8. Cheers Steve. I’ve been in touch with On Buy and have sent you an email to investigate further…

  9. Helping independent bookshops: Bookshop.org vs Hive

    In a Guardian article about Bookshop, it states that Bookshop “allows independent bookshops to create their own virtual shopfront on the site, with the stores receiving the full profit margin – 30% of the cover price – from each sale”.

    I did a trial run with a Booker Prize-shortlisted book, and it came up with a price of £9.29 (RRP £9.99) with the message “You’ll raise £1.00 for local bookshops!” The same price and message came up when I searched for a local independent bookshop on the site.

    Hive’s website, on the other hand, states that “After you’ve bought something from us, you choose a bookshop and we give them a percentage of your money.” The percentage is unspecified, and given that Hive’s price for the same book (£7.59) was a lot cheaper than Bookshop’s, the implication is that they will give a lot less than £1 to the bookshop – probably a few pennies at most.

    Of course, this is only one book, but the choice would appear to be between paying nearly full price for books via Bookshop (but the independent bookshop benefiting by the full profit margin) and paying a significantly reduced price via Hive, but the bookshop receiving an unspecified and almost certainly significantly lower amount.

    To add a final complication, it may be that bookshops have to pay a subscription to be listed by Bookshop (they have to make money somehow!). If this bothers you, you can always order direct from an independent bookshop that also offers an online service, although you may find you have to pay extra for post and packing (this wasn’t the case with one independent bookshop I checked). Anything but the Bezos behemoth!

  10. PS A clarification and a complication.

    First the clarification. I don’t know whether bookshops do have to pay a subscription to be listed by Bookshop – I was only suggesting this as a possible explanation for how they might be able to make some money themselves while passing on the full profit margin to bookshops and offering both free postage and a small discount on the cover price of books.

    Now the complication. You may have noticed that in the case of the £9.99 RRP book I used for the trial, Bookshop’s message “You’ll raise £1.00 for local bookshops!” does NOT equate to “the full profit margin – 30% of the cover price” mentioned in the Guardian article, which would be £3.00.

    BUT that trial was carried out *without* selecting a bookshop, and when I selected a bookshop first, the message “You’ll raise £3.00 for local bookshops!” came up!

    I don’t know whether the £1.00 message is a glitch or (more likely) intentional – perhaps it’s a way for Bookshop to make some money by keeping £2 of the £3 if you don’t specify a bookshop (but still giving £1 to bookshops – presumably as a contribution to a fund shared between all the shops they’ve signed up). Clearly, though, if you want an independent bookshop to get the most benefit, you should choose one before you place your first order (once you’ve selected one, it seems to get the full amount for each subsequent order).

  11. Hi, just wondering if you know anywhere to buy virtual books? A family member is just raising Amazon vouchers for their Kindle and it’s so difficult, really keeps you tied in!!

    Thanks

  12. I have used hive for their ebooks but find the fact you have to use Adobe digital elements to read them and it really isn’t a pleasant experience.

    Anyone got any work arounds a for this ?

  13. Hi there,

    I’d recommend having a look at Partage.com as well! I just got a few beauty products and they only have sustainable boutiques in there!

  14. Have you come across libro.fm – their audiobook selection is great – as are their social goals! And they give free ARCs to educators and librarians. Perhaps you could include them in your USA list.

  15. Excellent site but, other than a link to Unbound (who I have emailed), there is no information here for authors.
    In my own case, I am looking for a bookstore or online seller in the UK for my remaining stock of my autobigraphy which I have withdrawn from sale in Hong Kong where I live.
    Can you assist please?

    • Hi Guy,
      Unbound are the best I’ve found for authors so far – not so easy to find alternative publishers for authors as it is to find alternative retailers for buyers. If you find anything please do let me know.
      Cheers,
      Sam

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