How To Have An Amazon-Free Christmas

9th Dec 2014

Amazon seem to have fallen out with everyone this year. From bringing in union busters at work and charging customers widely varying prices, to bullying publishers and authors and of course for continuing to dodge their taxes! Want to go Amazon-free this Christmas? We've got you covered...

It’s no wonder a petition to boycott the book-selling giant has taken off and disgruntled customers have pledged to spend £3,077,320 (at last count!) elsewhere.

But just how easy is it to go Amazon-free this Christmas? Amazon is known for being cheap and convenient and for any part of Christmas to be both those things seems like a festive miracle…

Well first let’s do a bit of myth busting: Amazon is not the cheapest online bookseller (unfortunately they’re also not the only online bookseller ripping off authors, but that’s another post for another time).

The Book People have a wide range of books (new and old) and as the flashing SALE signs suggest; they’re cheap.

But let’s not stop there, as the last few years have shown us; no individual retailer should control a single market – so diversify your book buying!

Big Names

Waterstones and Foyles have a massive range of books and will deliver right up until Christmas. Waterstones offer free delivery on orders more than £10 and the deadline for posting in the UK is 18th December at midday. Foyles deliver both inside and outside the UK and cut it even finer with a last posting date of 22nd December for UK customers.


News from Nowhere is Liverpool’s Radical and Community Bookshop – which basically means they’ve got a ton of great books you can order online, safe in the knowledge that your money is going to a good cause.

Independent Bookshops

A good place to start is The Guardian’s Independent Bookshop Directory. However not everyone lives near an independent bookshop so if you’re lucky enough to have a good indie to hand grab on and hold tight! And if you’re not physically close to one, fear not and go online.

A lot of independent retailers are online and (battling Google Adwords to appear in search results) so pay them a visit! If your nearest indie isn’t online there’s Hive Books: a network of indies (360 and counting) who guarantee that a percentage of all money spent goes to support a local bookseller.


National Book Tokens are available online and for the eco-conscious among us they’re the perfect alternative to physical books. Also accepted in exchange for ebooks.

Authors and Small Presses

You know those lovely people who wrote the books you’re so excited to buy for your nearest and dearest? Well they celebrate Christmas as well and most of them sell their own books so if you want to make sure as much money as possible goes to your favourite writer then Google them directly!

It’s also worth checking out what the small presses are offering direct through their websites too, their illustrated pamphlets and gorgeous hardbacks make for great gifts. Check out our Publisher Spotlight series for some of our favourites.

Charity Shops and Second Hand Bookshops

If you’re feeling brave enough to venture out into the real world to do your Christmas shopping then check out your nearest charity shop. As a former charity shop bookseller I can tell you that now is the time of year when they bring out their best stuff. Untouched bestsellers, immaculate 3-for-2 rejects and beautiful editions of the classics.

Or check out their online equivalent: Better World Books share their profits with libraries and literacy charities – at the time of writing they’ve raised £12,064,251 – let’s see if we can put them up to £13 million by Christmas!

There’s also a great listing of second hand bookshops here for those of you looking for a rare or collectors gift too.

Book Clubs

For the gift that keeps giving all year around buy a subscription to The Willoughby Book Club. Based on the customer preferences they’ll send specially tailored book recommendations all year around and for every subscription sold they donate a book to Book Aid International.

Other Alternatives…

For everything else that Amazon usually provides (no point in pretending it’s not going to be a bitter break-up; they’re keeping the dog and Love Film) Ethical Consumer have produced a comprehensive list of alternatives; from e-readers to video games.


Are you boycotting Amazon this year? Share your tips for alternative book buying in the comments!