AVOIDING AMAZON – Websites with Free Shipping…and Free Print Catalogs!

Angela, thank you so much for that wonderful list of online catalogs you had in the latest edition of WritersWeekly! What a great resource for gift giving and our own supplies, too. You always come up with incredibly useful tools, and I thank you.

Cindy Gallagher
READ my blog at http://www.crossingpolansky.blogspot.com
WHAT’s next? http://www.cynthiapolansky.com
REMOTE CONTROL by Cynthia Polansky (2008 Echelon Press):
Judith McBride is dead and never looked better…but giving up the ghost, so to speak, proves harder than she thought.

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Angela,

It’s funny that this week in your newsletter you should mention shopping anywhere else besides Amazon. Years before Amazon tried to strongarm you and other publishers, a friend and I kicked around the idea of an alternative – a bookselling site with the readers’, authors’ and publishers’ best interests at heart. A site not designed to make money for its owners, but instead a site to offer readers great deals while allowing authors and publishers to make some money of their own for a change.

After the underhanded tactics employed by Amazon, my silent partner and I got serious. We think we’ve hit on the beginnings of a solution:

45 Caliber Books
http://www.45caliberbooks.com

Our fees to list a book for sale are and will stay ultra low, 1.00 per book per year for the basic listing, a fee which we’re waiving at least until January 1, 2009 as a first step toward building this site into a viable alternative to Amazon. Our sales fees are just ten cents a sale, on the honor system no less, because we’re dead serious on providing authors and publishers the financial ability to offer discounts and free shipping to the readers and still make money. We ourselves, as you can see, are not in this for any reason remotely related to greed or money, rather more like leaving this world a bit better than we found it.

We invite you to take a look at our site and our sample book pages–see all the options we offer to listing authors and publishers, our listing TOS is located on the drop down menu under the member’s button–and if you like what you see, please share our site with your authors and readers.

Angela, you may remember me, a staunch supporter of yours–Mari Bushman, Editor-Jigsaw Press, and now Webmaster-45 Caliber Books.

Thanks in advance!

Mari
The Implausible Hero by M.L. Bushman, in hardcover and eBook
Miracle, the novel by M.L. Bushman–eBook and paperback
Threads, a Blaine Horney Mystery by Kris Karrel–eBook and paperback
The Nightwing’s Quest by Stirling Davenport–fantasy at its epic finest…in hardcover
Excerpts available. For the missing pieces of your reading puzzle…
http://www.jigsawpress.com
45 Caliber Books–connecting readers with authors and publishers
http://www.45caliberbooks.com

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Hi, Angela,

I have been avoiding Amazon for over ten years – I don’t shop at online stores that ship with Amazon (such as Target online), and I usually immediately close links that lead to the Amazon site. Sometimes this is difficult with hard-to-find items, especially if I’m using a shopping link that lists vendors – half the time, all the links lead to Amazon. The reason? Well, many years ago, I think about 12 or more, Amazon decided that they would take legal action against a small bookstore called Amazon, one that had been in operation for several decades. Their so-called reason for doing this was brand infringement, even though the small store had been using the name for many years. The small bookstore owners were members of some of the online communities that I frequented at the time, and they circulated copies of the actual letters Amazon sent them.

I wanted to tell you about another shop online I use, http://www.lillianvernon.com, and also about http://www.orientaltrading.com. Both stores have many lower-priced items, although the focus is different.

Lillian Vernon used to do business only by catalog and I’ve used those catalogs for many years, mostly for toys. Their online presence has toys on the Lilly’s Kids link at the upper right of the home page. One of the things I like about this site is that they will personalize EVERYTHING, for free. I got a Christmas ornament for my family last year, and they not only put the family name on, they put a kid’s or parent’s name on each of the characters on the ornament. Some of their ornaments are really nice, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the ornament I got.

Oriental Trading is, of course, an awesome party supply store, as they were through their catalog for many years. I get stuff for Trick-or-Treaters there, as I just hate handing out candy, so I usually get a supply of little rings, or something like that, to put in the baskets/buckets/pillowcases.

I know these stores are not the high-end kinds of stores you’ve listed, but for people on a fixed or lower income, they are a really great deal.

Hugs,
Starr

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Starr is right! I’ve placed orders at Oriental Trading many times in the past. They have some pretty cheap stuff, but if you need fun goodies/prizes for a party or carnival for children, it’s definitely the place to shop! I’ve never shopped at Lillan Vernon but I logged onto their website and ordered their free catalog.