Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Ethical Book Consumption

At the beginning of the year, I set myself the resolution of using cruelty-free makeup, which stemmed from the desire to be more aware of where my money goes generally. On the internet, you often hear about being ethical in terms of fashion and beauty and food, but it’s more uncommon to talk about with reference to books.

I’ve been thinking more about this recently with the news of Amazon’s Buy Box algorithm change and I’ve come up with a list of ways to consume books ethically (if you have the means) - supporting authors, the environment, and your bookshelves in the process.

  1. Read ebooks and audiobooks

This one is for the environment! By reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks, you can help save the trees involved in printing a book. There are still things like the CO2 emissions of producing a rechargeable battery for your e-reader to consider, but overall I’d say these are both more green options you could consider.

  1. Buy from smaller retailers

I try to avoid buying books from Amazon as much as possible but unfortunately, they offer the best audiobook service and I also like reading ebooks on my Kindle. Even so, I stopped buying my physical books from them before Christmas. The fact that they can be so cheap makes me wonder how much the author is getting and it’s quite unsettling. I’m able to spend a little extra of books, so I prefer to get them from other places.

A really good alternative is hive.co.uk, which is an excellent website that helps you support local bookshops. Once you buy something, you can choose which bookshop gets a percentage of the money you paid! They also sell ebooks and audiobooks.

  1. Borrow from your library

Another way to get your book fix is to borrow from your library! This has the added benefit of not only helping the library, but also the authors: under the Public Lending Right, authors are entitled to 7.82p per individual loan. At the moment, this doesn’t apply to ebooks but has recently been extended to apply to audiobooks!

  1. Donate + buy from charity shops

Donating books to a charity shop not only frees up space on your shelves for more books, but also makes sure books can find a new home. Plus, money from the sale of books goes towards helping the running of that charity: book sales make up £1.6 million of monthly sales at Oxfam!


Buying books from charities is a really good way of supporting them + it means you’re reusing a book which is also environmentally friendly! It ensures the book gets a new life in a new home, avoiding a trip to the landfill.

Do you think book consumption can be ethical? Do you have any other ideas? Let me know in the comments!
Happy reading,
Zoe