About to purchase a book from Amazon? Don’t. Do this instead.

I posted something similar to this (but with only 140 characters) on Twitter yesterday after doing almost exactly what I describe here.

I suggest you do the same.

About to purchase a book from Amazon?


Do this instead. Sincerely.

Pick up the phone and call a bookstore. It could be a bookstore nearby, but anywhere in the world will do.


Introduce yourself to the bookseller who answers the phone. Tell the bookseller that you were about to order a book from Amazon but have reconsidered. Ask for help ordering the book from his or her store instead.

Since you have an actual book expert on the phone, talk about some of your favorite books and ask for a book recommendation as well.

Order that book, too. And maybe another. A birthday is always on the horizon. Take care of the gift right now by ordering a book.

Ask if it would be alright to schedule another phone call with the bookseller in about a month in order to get another recommendation and order more books.

Make a new friend. Seriously. Booksellers are some of the most generous, knowledgeable, helpful and sweet people in the world, and they are just a phone call away.

Ordering from a bookstore keeps these wonderful employed and keeps bookstores around the world open for business.

This is not a silly, pie-in the-sky idea. You may spend ten minutes instead of 30 seconds ordering your book, but it will be ten minutes very well spent.