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.
In the US, small businesses donate 250% more than large businesses to community causes.
In the US, local businesses generate 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail.
Small-and-medium-sized enterprises make up 90% of the world’s business population. In New Zealand, 97% of all firms have fewer than 20 employees. In Australia, 98% of all companies are small businesses. In the UK, that number is 99.9%!
Over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to the US economy if every family spent just $10 a month at a local business. In the UK, if you spend £10 at an independently-owned shop, it can result in up to £50 more being recirculated in the local economy than if that same amount was spent at a chain.
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!
Jump to section:
- Companies Owned or Affiliated with Amazon
- Our Recommended Audiobook Alternatives
- Our Recommended Print Book Alternatives
- Our Recommended eBook Alternatives
- Our Recommended Book Discovery and Tracking Alternatives
- Our Recommended Comic Alternatives
- Our Recommended Marketing, Production, and Distribution Alternatives
Amazon-Affiliated Companies and Services
ACX | Audiobook Creation Exchange
KDP | Kindle Direct Publishing
BookFinder.com was acquired by AbeBooks in 2005.
AbeBooks bought a 40% share of LibraryThing in May 2006.
Our Recommended Audiobook Alternatives
While we at Libro.fm aren’t the only independent audiobook source around, we are committed to sharing profits with our bookshop partners around the globe, helping our listeners diversify their reading habits, and providing an accessible and customer-driven platform. Make the audiobook switch today!
Our Recommended Print Book Alternatives
If you are in the US, you can use IndieBound’s bookshop finder to find the closest shop near you. If you’re in the UK, search the Booksellers Association’s finder. Located in Australia? Here’s BookPeople’s finder, and if you’re in New Zealand, check out their Bookseller map.
Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookshops. You can select a specific bookshop 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 bookshops.
ShopQueer.co is an independent online bookshop that splits profits with queer authors.
Used and rare books
Your local library
Libraries not only offer free access to books, audiobooks, and eBooks, but are also important community hubs for information, public health, resource access, social activities, and more.
WorldCat.org is a great resource for locating library materials.
Independent bookshops 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 is an independently-owned online marketplace for sellers of new and used books (plus music, movies, and rare and collectible titles).
ThriftBooks is an online independent used bookseller that emphasizes the quality of the used and new books on their platforms, available at low prices.
Biblio.com is an international online marketplace that offers rare and collectible books for sale from professional antiquarian booksellers.
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 is a social reading platform where people can discover, read, and highlight eBooks and audiobooks, and share annotations with other readers.
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 is a free to low-cost tool to track your reading and choose your next book based on genres, themes, mood, and more.
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 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.
Our Recommended Comic Alternatives
Your local comic book store
You can use Comic Shop Locator to find a comic book store closest to you.
A monthly subscription for over 25,000 comics and graphic novels from the DC archive, new titles six months after print release, and Digital First titles three months after release.
A monthly subscription for over 29,000 comics and exclusive content from the Marvel Universe, from classic to new issues as soon as three months after hitting shelves.
Distributor of eBooks, games, software, and digital content with a mission to support charity and provide great prices.
Free online service through your local library that allows you to borrow comics and graphic novels (in addition to eBooks, audiobooks, films, TV shows, and more).
Free online service through your local library that offers graphic novels, magazines, and comics to borrow.
Our Recommended Marketing, Production and Distribution Alternatives
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.
Both Libro.fm and Bookshop.org affiliate programs offer competitive pricing and support local bookshops.
Audiobook Production and Distribution
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 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 helps self-publishing authors create, print, promote, share, and sell their own print and eBooks.
Lulu offers guides and templates to allow users to self-publish, print, and share print or digital books.
Smashwords is a tool to help publishers and authors publish and distribute eBooks to major retailers and thousands of libraries.
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!