I had an email this week from a new friend who had just seen the SmartLifeways web site. One of the things that she pointed out was that by having a link to Amazon for buying the books that I had mentioned on the site I was missing an opportunity to support local, independent book stores.
Supporting local businesses is one important way that we can create a more sustainable future (and small independent bookstores are especially important for a host of reasons). This way we support small businesses, local jobs, keep business dollars in the community and reduce the waste stream from mailings.
Another area that she reminded me about was that Amazon pays no sales tax so they do not contribute to the tax base of our communities. Local bookstores of course pay sales tax but also contribute to the community in other ways such as by frequently having authors come in and other events to bring community together.
Amazon may offer some books at a discount but here is another example of how we pay somewhere else…what is known as an externalized costs. So we may save a few dollars buying our book but we add to the waste stream, use of fossil fuels with transportation and reduce potential tax dollars for the community, which in the end we all pay for with higher taxes, rather than businesses paying their fair share. There are so many ways that businesses find ways to offer something for “less” but these other costs are still there and in the end the public pays for them one way or another. So a few extra dollars spent shopping locally can potentially save all of us a lot more money, and maybe get companies actually paying for what should be their responsibility.
Watch for a change on the web site and in the meantime here is a link to find a local, independently owned bookstore near you.
Thanks so much Kathleen for offering another way that SmartLifeways can be more sustainable and hopefully more people as well.