Avoid Amazon, go straight to Midtown Scholar

I do everything I can do avoid the clutches of Amazon. Here in Seattle, I buy books from Elliott Bay or the University Book Store, sometimes Left Bank Books (pretty small selection, but great stuff), or from Powell’s online. I rarely buy anything else online, except I recently ordered Frédéric Lordon’s Willing Slaves of Capital from Verso (you should too: $13 and it comes with a bundled e-book). Of course, there are times when these stores don’t have or can’t get what I want fast enough: for example, I wanted my own copy of Deleuze’s Empiricism and Subjectivity, and my usual sources didn’t have a copy and it was not available from the publisher for a few weeks. What is one who despises Amazon to do?

I went to the used books section on Amazon and found out that – as is typical if you’ve ever looked on there for academic books — Midtown Scholar had a good copy for $21.05 plus $3.99 shipping. Doing gymnastics to keep my dollars out of Amazon’s hands, I found Midtown Scholar’s site, and found the same book for $19.95 + $5.75 shipping. It was worth it for me to take the 66 cent hit to not run any money through Amazon…

Sure, I’ve heard a million times that Amazon doesn’t make any money on retail, but I don’t care. In fact, they’ve probably found a way to skim more money off this blog post or through my few minutes on their website than they would have if I had bought the book, but fine. What I do know now though, is that if I want/need an academic book that isn’t available from Seattle or Portland, I have another option.

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2 Responses to Avoid Amazon, go straight to Midtown Scholar

  1. James Luchte says:

    I remember growing up in a fairly large city in America, and the book stores, mostly at the mall, were terrible. It was not until I moved to NYC that I ever found a decent bookstore (St Mark’s Books). So, I am glad Amazon exists. It is liberating for people who do not have access to decent bookstores (which do not exist in most places.)

    • Keith Harris says:

      Je d’accord, totally understandable: I too recall walking in and out of Waldenbooks (Golden Triangle Mall, Denton, Texas) disappointed. It wasn’t until I moved to Denver and had access to the Tattered Cover, that I experienced a decent bookstore. So I too appreciate Amazon, but in the same way I appreciate Starbucks: it has made online book purchasing more accessible, just like Starbucks, as abysmal as it is, has fueled café culture in the States. But my appreciation stops there. All I am saying here is that online alternatives are possible.

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