Over the quarter century we’ve lived in Charlottetown, I’ve never particularly thought of The Bookmark, our local independent bookstore, as a place to order books. For some inexplicable reason I thought it was more trouble than it was worth for them, and so I simply fell into the habit of ordering books online.
Recently, though, I noticed a big search box at the top of the store’s website labelled Search for anything, and that seemed like clear evidence that they wanted me to order books from them and, indeed, that they could get anything on order.
And so I’ve started to order my books from The Bookmark instead of from Amazon. The store’s prices are often a dollar or two more than Amazon’s, and it can take a little longer for books to arrive (but not much longer), but you don’t pay shipping if you pick up at the store, and you don’t have to pay until the book arrives.
What’s more, I help to ensure the longevity of my local independent bookstore by buying locally. So as part of the deal, I get a local place to browse for books that’s open seven days a week, has a thoughtful and broad approach to stocking its shelves, and that sells fountain pens and ink to boot. Here’s what The Bookmark itself says:
We believe in a local economy – we believe that spending money is a political act, every dollar we spend casts a ballot for the kind of world we want to live in. There is no right or wrong answer, but if you don’t shop locally, if you don’t support the local economy, in the real world, there won’t be one left when you step outside. At Bookmark, we are strong supporters of the local literary community. We also take seriously spending our dollars locally for marketing services, accounting, legal and other business services.
By way of encouraging others (and myself) to look to The Bookmark when our Amazon muscle memory runs so strong, using Jon Udell’s excellent LibraryLookup as a starting point, I’ve created a handy “look this up at The Bookmark” bookmarklet (ha! was there ever a bookmarklet better named!).
The idea is this: you’re readying a blog post, say, and it has a link to a book at Amazon.com. You visit the Amazon book page, click the bookmarklet and, blamo, you see the same book on The Bookmark’s site.
To install the bookmark, just drag the link above to your browser’s bookmarks toolbar.
Here’s the bookmarklet in action.
From the Amazon.ca page for If Cats Disappeared from The World:
I click the bookmarklet on my browser’s toolbar and a new browser window pops up with the ISBN for the book fed to The Bookmark’s search tool:
From there it’s an easy matter to order the book from The Bookmarklet (and it’s worthwhile to note that Amazon.ca’s shipping was $5.73 while The Bookmark didn’t charge any shipping at all, so, in fact, it was less expensive to order locally).
Needless to say, this bookmarklet has no affiliation with Amazon nor with The Bookmark; it’s simply a technical intervention, created by me, to encourage people to shop at my local bookstore.