A few days ago I received an email from a reader asking if I might consider... well, let's have it from the horse's mouth. Hope you don't mind, Kathleen!
"I have always found the links to Amazon very helpful for purposes of adding books you review that intrigue me to my wishlist. However, I’ve decided to stop using Amazon.
"Back when I started buying from Amazon it was new and a bit of an upstart. Internet shopping in general was new. It felt like a good thing to support back then. Now Amazon is the biggest bookseller in the country. It does things like remove the GLBT tag from books, remove MacMillan’s books over e-book pricing disputes and now it is demanding that publishers lock into three-year contracts and guarantee that no other competitor will get lower prices or better terms on e-books. It all just leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me more determined than ever to support local bookstores or buy directly from authors whenever I can.
"Including a link to the books on IndieBound.com in your reviews would give your US readers an alternative to Amazon and would help support local booksellers across the United States."
Some of you may have found a similar email in your inbox, in fact - Kathleen did say she'd sent her message to all the book bloggers she follows.
In any event, after giving the matter some thought, I think she makes a fair point, and I mean to do exactly as she suggests just as soon as the reviews I've posted the various reviews I already have queued up for the next few weeks. Here's hoping all the other bloggery sorts I've had the pleasure of meeting since The Speculative Scotsman launched in January follow suit.
Certainly I'm only too happy to help support authors and brick and mortar bookstores. I'd much rather my money was lining the pockets of those people who were directly involved in the creation of the products I take such enjoyment from - writers and publishers - than some monolithic monopoly gets richer still off of my hard-earned.
Now let it be said, I've never been a great supporter of Amazon, even before all the e-book fuss. For me, Amazon has been, virtually from day one, a convenience; nothing more. Someone gifted me a Prime membership and the prices for books old and new have always been very reasonable, so sure, I've bought from them often in recent years, but I've never felt good about it. In fact, every time I've seen a local bookstore shutter its doors for the last time, I've felt positively awful about the fact I've patronised the terrible Amazon machine rather than help out the friendly human alternative.
And then came the Macmillan kerfuffle. Which, suffice it to say, rather rubbed me up the wrong way - and I know I'm not alone in that. So it's been on my mind to do something about the links I include in each of the book reviews I post here on TSS. I'm not going to go so far as to remove them, but from here on out, expect links to IndieBound alongside every URL leading to Amazon in the UK or the States.
But that's not quite that, because I love the idea behind IndieBound, and given the UK and particularly the Scottish focus of this site, I'd be overjoyed to be able to include one other link with each review: a link to some British or European alternative to IndieBound, which I'm given to understand operates only in the US.
What shall it be?
Ultimately, you see, all these links are for you, readers, and for the locals amongst you, if you've got a favourite place to buy your books online, you need to fill me in, and quick smart. Waterstones is the closest thing I have to an idea, but there's got to be something better... right?
So. I'm opening up the floor for suggestions. Make your pitch. I'm all ears.