Bye bye buy links : buy local
I’ve just removed all the ‘Buy’ links from my website and S.L. Grey’s website and replaced them with this simple line: “If you love reading, help defend the book trade around the world by buying local, independent or national before supporting multinational retail conglomerates.”
Amazon’s latest round of bullying, this time against Hachette, hardly a lightweight corporation itself, has proven to be the last straw for me. Amazon won’t stop until it has a monopoly and then it can entirely control what is published and what it costs. This article by Jay Kristoff describes why Amazon getting their way is not a good thing for readers or writers, and this article in The New York Times indicates just how little Amazon cares about our complaints.
Instead of deleting only the Amazon ‘Buy’ links in protest, I decided to remove all the buy links, knowing that if you’re interested in buying a book, you’re quite capable of typing the title into an e-retailer’s search box or asking a bookseller whether they have it. The one-click utopia is what’s got us to this stage.
I’ve kept the Bookfinder links up on the Books Live pages because they link to a choice of four South African e-retailers, much better for your soul.
Personally, I’m not going to buy any more e-books from Amazon, the only things I’ve bought from them. If I want an e-book, I’d prefer to download an ePUB version from a South African bookstore and convert it to use on my possibly-soon-to-be-redundant Kindle. Some publishers’ digital rights management currently makes that impossible without illegal processes, and I hope that they’ll change their minds about DRM. In the meanwhile, I’ll just order the hard copy, which, again, I find better for my soul. The last ten books I’ve bought have been made of paper and I’m enjoying reading them. I’ve made space on my bookshelf for them by giving a couple of piles of paper books to my local library so that others can enjoy them. There’s something quaint about that.
My new plan is a little more expensive, yes, but so is the food and drink I select because I’ve been trying to choose ethical, world-friendly products. It was a surprisingly difficult cognitive bridge for me to build between buying indie beer and organic coffee and not necessarily choosing the cheapest, greediest book retailer, but I’ve made it now. The same applies to ordering CDs from a local outlet instead of one-clicking them at iTunes. And I remember that when Amazon is a monopoly, it will charge whatever it wants, and I’m guessing it won’t be discounted quite as heavily then.
This is my little way of spitting into the wind.