No to Amazon, Yes to Libraries: Reading Intentions 2020
I’d usually start this post by saying: wow, it’s been a year! But if I’m honest, this last week has been enough to make me wish my Christmas break was very much already here. Alas, it is not, but since I’m spending my last week trying to be productive, why not set some intentions for the new year? I don’t believe in resolutions and think if you’ve got something you want to change, you should just start straight away. But entering the new year with some good intentions is always a good way to start.
Amazon is, and I cannot stress this enough, cancelled!
Last year one of my reading intentions was to stop buying books, or anything for that matter, from Amazon. Darker times might be approaching and workers’ rights are becoming increasingly unstable—this is now more important than ever. As readers, I believe we should commit to reading ethically. Books may seem a little more expensive when purchased from your local bookshop or direct from the publisher, but you can be safe in the knowledge that your money is going to all the right places.
When you buy a book from Amazon at a huge discount, you should always question what circumstances have allowed them to make such a cut to the price. From the people who work for local deliveries to warehouse workers to small publishing presses: none of these groups see the benefits of Amazon’s profits. Independent bookshops need your support, not just exposure on your Instagram, so if its an accessible option for you to shop at them, do so! As a former Amazon-addict, I’m very happy that I managed to make the commitment to stop using Amazon and will continue this in 2020 — stand in solidarity with underpaid workers and booksellers and presses alike and with only the tiniest lifestyle change.
Save the Libraries
Back in Blackpool I was registered to multiple libraries and used them very frequently. They were a staple location for warmth, happiness and reading-material galore in my childhood and I can’t imagine what sort of person I’d be today without them. However, when I moved to Manchester and had to spend all day in the university library, I didn’t even think to register at my local or the city library. I’ve been to both and used their facilities when uni has been too busy or to print off CV’s for many a job hunt, but for some reason, I am yet to register at either.
In 2020, I’m committing to two things. Firstly, I’m going to register at my local library and use it frequently. LIbraries are disappearing at an alarming rate, and in the current political climate, I can’t see this reduction slowing down anytime soon. In fact, since austerity measures began in 2010, nearly 800 libraries have closed down across the country. We have to keep these lovely places open for generations after us so they can reap the rewards that we were so privileged to have access to. Working-class people, in particular, rely on libraries for safety, advice and education that they may not have access to elsewhere — I know I did and I know plenty of others who needed and still need the same.
For the first three months of the new year, I won’t be buying any new books. We need to show this government that we value libraries. If everyone commits to requesting books from libraries instead of buying them new, even for a small portion of the year, we can really make a difference. The world around us is radically changing and not necessarily for the better as we might have hoped before this past week.
Reading is resistance!
(Photo credit: Independent)