Your Guide to Independent Alternatives for Books, Audiobooks, eBooks, and Beyond

Aiming for more ethical consumption—of what you buy, where you shop, and who you support—is an admirable goal, but a tricky one. Still, if you have the financial and logistical means to do so, the results are powerful.


Here are some statistics via Fundera:

$68

Small businesses generate $68 of local economic return for every $100 spent.

$9.3 billion

Over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy if every US family spent just $10 a month at a local business.

70%

Local businesses generate 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail.

99.7%

Businesses with fewer than 500 employees account for 99.7% of all US employers.

250%

Small businesses donate 250% more than large businesses to community causes.


If you’re looking to support more small literary businesses (be it with print books, audiobooks, or eBooks), here’s your comprehensive guide for making the switch to independent alternatives!

Amazon-Affiliated Companies and Services

ACX | Audiobook Creation Exchange

KDP | Kindle Direct Publishing

Our Recommended Audiobook Alternatives

Libro.fm

While we at Libro.fm aren’t the only independent audiobook source around, we stand behind our commitment to sharing profits with our bookstore partners, helping our listeners diversify their reading habits, and providing an accessible and customer-driven platform. Make the audiobook switch today!

Libby

Libby, a free app created by OverDrive, is a user-friendly way to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from your local library.

Our Recommended Print Book Alternatives

Your local bookstore

To find your nearest independent bookstore, visit IndieBound’s bookstore finder.  

If you’re looking for a specific book, Bookstore Link connects you directly to your local bookstore’s online shop.

Bookshop.org

Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. You can select a specific bookstore to support with your print purchases and they’ll receive a share of the proceeds. Otherwise, orders contribute to an earnings pool that is evenly distributed among independent bookstores.


Your local library

Libraries not only offer free access to books, audiobooks, and ebooks to their patrons, but are also important community hubs for information, public health, resource access, social activities, and more.

Your local used or rare bookstore

Independent bookstores that specialize in used books are great resources for finding lightly used or well-loved print books at a lower price, and some specialize in rare editions of books that make great gifts for readers or collectors.

Alibris 

Alibris is an independently-owned online marketplace for sellers of new and used books (plus music, movies, and rare and collectible titles).

ThriftBooks

ThriftBooks is an online independent used book seller that emphasizes the quality of the used and new books on their platforms, available at low prices.

Biblio.com

Biblio.com is an international online marketplace that offers rare and collectible books for sale from professional antiquarian booksellers.

Better World Books

Offering used (and new!) books for low prices, Better World Books also has a charitable component—each book purchased is matched with a donation to someone in need, and they fund grants for literacy and educational nonprofits and libraries.

Note: In the case of Biblio.com and other marketplaces, there is still the possibility your order will be delivered through Amazon despite them being independently-owned. From Biblio.com’s FAQ:

Biblio’s goal of allowing independent booksellers to sell their books online with ease and autonomy has not changed. However, one of the side effects of that freedom is that some Biblio sellers may also list their books on other venues, including Amazon and the Amazon-owned AbeBooks. Some sellers may also use “Fulfillment by Amazon” as a way to cut their delivery costs. This means that the sellers send their physical book inventories to Amazon and when they receive an order, the shipment is then handled by the Amazon warehouse.

Our Recommended eBook Alternatives

Glose

Glose is a social reading platform where people can discover, read, and highlight ebooks and audiobooks, and share annotations with other readers.

Fable 

Fable is a social reading platform that hosts online book clubs led by members as well as celebrities and authors, and allows members to purchase and discuss eBooks.

Our Recommended Book Discovery and Tracking Alternatives

The StoryGraph

The StoryGraph is a free to low-cost tool to track your reading and choose your next book based on genres, themes, mood, and more.

Readerly

Readerly is a book discovery tool that aims to “help readers discover great books and support the creators, publishers, and booksellers who nourish the writer-to-reader chain.” Enter code “librofm” to get access.

Libib

Libib is a library management service that caters to libraries, schools, organizations, and home catalogs and allows users to catalog books, movies, music, and video games.

Bookly

Bookly is a free reading assistant app that allows users to add a book by scanning its ISBN or searching for it online, track progress and reading behavior, record notes, and set goals.

Book Marks

Founded by Lit Hub, Book Marks is an aggregator of book reviews and critical conversations about contemporary writing.

Our Recommended Comic Alternatives

Your local comic book store

You can use Comic Shop Locator to find a comic book store closest to you.

DC Universe Infinite 

A monthly subscription for over 25,000 comics and graphic novels from the DC archive, new titles 6 months after print release, and Digital First titles 3 months after release.

Marvel Unlimited

A monthly subscription for over 29,000 comics and exclusive content from the Marvel Universe, from classic to new issues as soon as 3 months after hitting shelves.

Humble Bundle

Distributor of ebooks, games, software, and digital content with a mission to support charity and provide great prices.

Hoopla Digital

Free online service through your local library that allows you to borrow comics and graphic novels (in addition to ebooks, films, TV shows, and more).

Libby

Free online service through your local library that offers graphic novels, magazines, and comics to borrow.

Our Recommended Marketing, Production and Distribution Alternatives

Affiliate Marketing

Libro.fm

With Libro.fm’s affiliate program, you earn 10% whenever someone buys an audiobook or gift membership that you share, and 30% on every new membership.

Bookshop.org

Through Bookshop.org’s affiliate program, you can earn 10% whenever someone buys a book you share.

Both Bookshop.org and Libro.fm affiliate programs offer competitive pricing and support local bookshops.


Audiobook Production and Distribution

Author’s Republic

Author’s Republic is an audiobook creation and distribution platform that helps authors and publishers produce quality audiobooks and deliver titles to a wide network of global retailers.

Scribe Media

Scribe Media is a professional publisher that helps would-be authors write, publish, and market their books outside of traditional publishing routes.

Learn more about how Libro.fm works with authors.


Print and eBook Production and Distribution

Blurb

Blurb helps self-publishing authors create, print, promote, share, and sell their own print and eBooks.

Lulu

Lulu offers guides and templates to allow users to self-publish, print, and share print or digital books.

Smashwords
(eBooks only)

Smashwords is a tool to help publishers and authors publish and distribute ebooks to major retailers and thousands of libraries.

IngramSpark

IngramSpark makes it possible to publish quality print books and ebooks with global distribution.

Any other alternatives you enjoy using?
Let us know in the comments!

Get a free audiobook!

When you start a new Libro.fm membership in support of bookstores, you'll get a bonus audiobook credit.

Jenna Homen works on all things related to social media and the Libro.fm community. When not reading and listening to books, she is probably painting or hiking.

3 replies on “Your Guide to Independent Alternatives for Books, Audiobooks, eBooks, and Beyond

  • Austin Craver

    Hello! I noticed Comixology wasn’t mentioned in the Amazon-affiliated section (although they’ve recently become more integrated with Kindle Books) but I would recommend for Japanese manga the independent manga service Azuki.co. It is a subscription-based service offering a host of manga from publishers Kodansha, Glacier Bay, Star Fruit Books, and others. They also host some independently published manga.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.