UPDATE: Turns out that Bookshop.org is slso an ignorant and bigoted business. They too have banned Anderson’s book. See the combox below (HT: HB Reader Daniel). 🤦🏻♂️
Before there was Amazon readers used to browse through the shelves of local used bookstores. These were stores, like a grocery store, with books. Used bookstores carried books that others had read and had, for one reason or another, sold or traded for another book. My hometown, Lincoln, Neb still has a used bookstore or two. Bluestem Books is my favorite. They have a decent little classics section and a small but robust religion section. In San Diego we had Adams Avenue, which is a street that was lined with bookstores, including one with that name which featured a large theological and religious studies section. Sadly it is closed now.
In the wake of Amazon’s decision to begin removing books of which they do not approve (namely, Ryan T. Anderson’s, When Harry Became Sally) I have begun shopping for books (and other products) elsewhere. What good is a bookstore that will not sell me a book that I want to buy? It seems as if they have broken the implicit contract we had: I look for a book, you stock the book, I order the book, you sell the book. I have been buying books since 1979. I started by scouring the giant Goodwill Store and the used bookshops. Lincoln is a college town so I was able to amass a decent little library during college. In all those years I have never once had a bookseller tell me, “Oh no, you may not buy that book.” Frankly, it is none of the bookseller’s business what I read. Doubtless there are books I should not read but I shall leave it to my pastor, elders, friends, colleagues, and wife to instruct me on that. Recently I stumbled on bookshop.org and I was pleased with the service. There are other similar alternative sites but I like the fact that this one sends a portion of the purchase price to a local used bookstore.
Here is another thing that we used to do before Amazon: order online directly from the publisher. In the case of Anderson’s, When Harry… you can order it directly from Encounter Books (in hardcover, paper, or as an e-book). I ordered mine in hardcopy and if Amazon does not approve, they can pound sand.
What other alternatives are there to Bookshop and Amazon? Comments are open.
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