Think Before you Buy – Amazon or High Street Bookstore?

Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson. I needed to buy a book (Mere Christianity) for someone and did my normal…looked it up on Amazon and was just about to press the button, knowing that it would arrive within a day and that it would be cheap. However before I pressed the thought struck me – ‘why are you doing this? There is a Christian book store in the centre of your town”. So I went to CLC, bought the book. Result? It cost me £1 more, I got it instantly and I got the opportunity to support a Christian presence on the high street in my own city. CLC is a rapidly improving Christian bookstore in the centre of Dundee – should all of us who are believers in this city and who want to support this Christian witness make a habit of buying our books there more often? And if the books you want are not there – why not get them to order them in for you? The more good books you order, the more they will stock them! Lesson learned…

Perhaps all of us, wherever we are should use the ‘economic’ power that we have intelligently. Would my saving of £1 really have been worth it? What about the environmental cost of all that packaging and extra fuel? What about the jobs of those who work in the High Street? What about the ridiculous pressure that Amazon are able to put on publishers and writers because of their massive purchasing power? But perhaps most of all, what about the public witness of a Christian shop on the High Street where people can just walk in, look at books and meet at real life Christians? I’m not saying I will never use Amazon again, but I will certainly be more careful and thoughtful in my purchases. Why should I fund a massive corporation which is using some of its profits to attack Christian values when I can purchase the book I want in my local CHristian bookshop?

8 thoughts on “Think Before you Buy – Amazon or High Street Bookstore?

  1. Totally agree! We support our local Christian bookshop, Bridge Books in Exeter for the same reasons you’ve mentioned. However when it comes to e-books, I buy from Amazon so I can read them on Kindle/ iPad actually. Unfortunately local Christian bookshops can’t compete with this, but they are great for all kinds of cards and gifts!

  2. I must own up to using the Amazon option from time to time (guilt, guilt!)

    But what I have been increasingly aware of is that, these days, very few churches (including my own) have their own book stall. Indeed there seems to be almost no culture of reading good Christian books, other than the latest “I died and went to heaven …” type of lit trash!

    When I was a young Christian in London we had book reviews on a weekly basis, and we bought them. Packer, Stott, MLJ, Motyer, Tozer, Pawson to name but a few, plus the Tyndale commentaries. In addition we read biographies and autobiographies of the great missionaries. We still have many of them stuffing our bookcases and cupboards. (We have the story of the China Inland Mission – Hudson Taylor, written by Mrs. Hudson Taylor published many years ago – a most amazing account, especially in view of what is happening in China today). Of course there are also many excellent contemporary writers such as Os Guiness (and DR!)

    I have been reflecting on why this is so – that many Christians simply do not read, or if they do then it tends to be the latest super spiritual blockbuster which requires no intellectual input other than the basic ability to be able to read!

    It seems to me that in these post-modern days many Christians are looking for direct encounters with God – intense experiences of the Holy Spirit, direct “words” or “visions” which bypass the need to engage with the scriptures or to think about the faith. We seem to have substituted ministry teams and worship leaders in place of finding Jesus in the scriptures. The trouble is that this approach leaves many Christians ignorant and very vulnerable.

    Perhaps I need to start a campaign in my own church and, in consequence, support our local Christian bookshop.

  3. Absolutely. What really annoys me, is to see people (in Christian bookshops) reading the book, taking a note of the ISBN number and walking out. The bookshops will not survive if we treat them in that way.

  4. Could you repeat this message on Facebook so that I can share it widely?
    From a Christian bookshop manager in South Wales.

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