Yes, please do support your local bookstore. Drop in, browse, chat, buy. Although I buy books online my best buys, the ones that please me most are always the ones I look at, touch, flick through and then take up to the counter. Somehow no number of online opinions and ‘look at the pages of this book here’ make up for the judgement one exercises with book literally in hand.
But there are all sorts of reasons why one might need to buy online as well, especially in the case of secondhand books where it is so easily the case that the book you are hunting for is all but extinct. Fortunately there are both international and national databases of booksellers which are not yet owned by Amazon. Here I mention a couple of the localised ones. If you live in Australia, there is booksandcollectibles One of the earliest databases to be set up in the mid-nineties, Paul Anderson, its human face, envisaged the possibility that Australia could support something of its type and indeed he was correct. Its interface is very VERY simple, but lots of customers love that.
You don’t need whizz-bang to buy books.
B&C is not only Australian sellers, but with about two-thirds of the approximately 400 sellers being local, it is an especially effective way of finding books located here. It is also the best source of Australian books, of course. It only sells real hard copy books, no POD and no ebooks. It has about 3,000,000 online at the moment, of which Pioneer books lists around 45,000!
I noticed a change of ownership recently for UK Bookworld This is the UK equivalent of our booksandcollectibles, although it only lists UK sellers. Like b&c it is owned by a real person, in this case John Phipps of Phipps Books. Like Paul Anderson, and a necessity for this kind of business, he knows a lot about computers.
When you shop at either of these online options, you are dealing directly with actual real booksellers, people who live in your town, buy apples at your fruit shop, enrol their kids in your music classes and pay the taxes that make your community a better place in which to live. If you think about it, even if you could buy that book you are thinking about for a few bucks less through a tax avoider like Amazon, it doesn’t really actually make sense, does it?