Once again a post at Fuse #8 has springboarded me to a post of my own. Actually it's the comments that have me in a tizzy.
As a lone librarian at an independent school, in charge of 12+ classes a week, reference, school-wide events, collection development, the works, I frankly rely on Amazon.com for quick reviews. Gone are the days of paging leisurely through SLJ: if I hear about a book, I look it up on Amazon and see what the consensus is. Some years ago I bit the bullet and started an Amazon Wish List for the school library, so parents can donate books in honor of kids' birthdays and the like.
But when I order a book for myself or for a gift, I go independent. I've worked at two different independent bookstores (one sadly defunct, one still cheerfully hand-selling away right in my neighborhood) and can't stomach handing my own money over to the behemoth that helped kill the Red and Black Books Collective. I've occasionally stepped into a Bunns & Noodle to spend a gift certificate (all hail Alison Bechdel for inventing that nickname) but always feel guilty and furtive when I do.
A couple months ago, Jody at Raising Weg wrote a cogent, convincing post about the value of the big chains, especially in areas that hadn't had any bookstores before. It almost convinced me that objection to chains was an elitist stance. Then I read posts like this, and I rebel: no one person should have that much power over what gets published (Clamouring Hour, anyone?*). I realize that brick-and-mortar chains and Amazon aren't really the same thing, but from my independent-bookstore-loyalist perspective they're two of a kind.
As this is a book blog, I expect to be discussing many (wait for it) books. And I expect that the odd reader or two might want to buy a title they see here. A link to Amazon will hook up those readers with a passel of editorial and reader reviews, plus referrals to other similar titles. If I link to Powell's, they get none of that, but they might buy from an independent. Lots of people I admire in the kidlitosphere link to Amazon and even have Amazon stores on their pages, so I guess I could, too. But I haven't been able to bring myself to.
Truth is, I feel a little silly twisting myself up over this moral dilemma when the readership of this blog numbers in the low two digits, and when I use Amazon all the time as a book-information source. But if you think this is tortuous, you should've been there for some of those bookstore collective meetings.
In any case, advice and opinions are welcome. So far I've been begging the question by not linking anywhere, but that seems like cheating, no?
*Gratuitous Fly By Night reference