I’ve recently been thinking a lot about supporting local bookstores as much as possible. I’ve always supported local bookshops by attending author events and buying books at those, but they haven’t been happening in person recently and I haven’t attended a ton of online events. In the past, I’ve sent books for US giveaways through Amazon because it was the cheapest method, but during COVID I’ve tried to send via local booksellers or Bookshop.org (which supports local booksellers).
These decisions haven’t been simple, though. I’ve been blogging for eight years now, and it isn’t cheap. I spend money on hosting, and other various blogging things (like InLinkz), and I run multiple giveaways, most of which I fund myself. I’ve always felt that it was still good for authors if I was buying via Amazon, and it wasn’t as expensive for me. Amazon sales are still important for an author. Also, I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband works for Amazon Web Services, and they’ve been very good to us, so it’s a little harder for me to jump on the “Amazon is evil” train with the rest of the bookish world. (You can all feel free to throw banana peels now.) I do get where people are coming from when it comes to their markdown on books, though, which is why I’ve tried to cut way back on Amazon book purchases.
It costs a lot for me to support authors and publishers, but I obviously don’t want to give that up. So maybe being an affiliate is one answer?
But then there’s Bookshop. I recently became a Bookshop.com affiliate and added links to Bookshop on my pre-order page. I might also add them to my future reviews, but I haven’t done that yet. I was hoping this might be a way to make back a little bit of the money I spend on blogging. But I struggled with the decision to become an affiliate at all. Not because I don’t think that Bookshop.org is a great service but because I wondered if I was defeating the purpose by becoming an affiliate myself. Bookshop helps support local bookstores, which is especially important right now. If I’m an affiliate, the 10% commission goes to me, not to local bookstores. So am I defeating the purpose? At least I’m still supporting an organization that’s good for local bookstores, but is that good enough?
Oh, and then there’s buying books via Book Outlet, which I used to do a lot. But I think maybe those sales don’t really benefit the author at all because of the outlet nature of those sales? Does anyone know for sure?
You see the hoops I’ve been jumping through in my head—I can’t quite decide where to land!
As of right now, no one has purchased via my pre-order page, so I guess my moral dilemma there doesn’t really matter. LOL! And I do hope that someday I’ll be making money on my own published books and then the money I’ve spent on the blog won’t feel so significant.
But it’s a dilemma that lots of us face as bloggers. How do we make an impact and support authors and publishers without putting too huge of a dent in our own pocketbooks? And do we need to feel guilty for offsetting or minimizing the costs of blogging in whatever ways we can?
What do you think of all this? I want to know!