Where I ethically buy books
19 May 2023

Since Book Depository closed down and a lot of people are looking for alternative international book shops, I thought I’d share where I order books.

The fact is, Book Depository was never a great site, being owned by Amazon. But there are other great options!

I use a website called Ethical Book Search where you can look up any book and the site will find you ethical sellers of that book in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. It displays results for both new and used books, physical books and e-books. My country isn’t even on their list of countries but I’ve managed to find sellers who ship to me by looking up results in nearby countries - so if your country isn’t listed either, I would still suggest giving the website a go for finding ethical sellers with worldwide shipping.

If you know of an ethical/independent internet seller that isn’t included in Ethical Book Search, then I would also encourage you to contact the developers and help more people find better book buying options!

Personally I’ve had good experience ordering from World of Books, Awesome Books and Better World Books. (Special note for EU bookworms: World of Books is a UK shop, but most of their packages recently have been shipped from within the EU so you don’t even have to deal with import tax).

I read a lot and it’s important to me to buy books as ethically as I can and to not give my money to companies that mistreat their workers and are making publishing worse by monopolising the market. I like buying books locally if I can, and I’m also a big fan of second hand books because they are cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

P.S. I’ve seen a lot of people praising bookshop.org as an ethical alternative to Amazon. However, the ethical veneer is mainly just branding:

“The general public genuinely think they are helping independent bookshops,” said Button. “I don’t think a lot of them realise it’s just another big warehouse and it’s a fulfilment service.”