Monday, June 23, 2008

IF you have to order books online, Powell's is more environmentally friendly than Amazon.com

Of course, you should support your local indie bookstore, but if you don't always do this, online ordering becomes a consideration. Powell's is better than Amazon.com for one reason in particular: they consolidate your order to the highest degree possible. What this means is that if you order two things at one time they'll do the sensible thing and ship them both to you in one package at one time. You can't even specify this option with Amazon anymore. Actually, you can, but they'll ignore it. What that leads to are absurdities like having a seventy five page book and one that's two hundred pages shipped separately from each other and arriving within one day of each other. For no reason. So it takes up twice the amount of gasoline to ship two things that should not in any way be shipped as two orders. Also takes more packaging than just one bigger package.

The reason is that they privilege turn around time and getting it to you NOW to the exclusion of everything else, including common sense.

Powell's doesn't do this so much. They'll actually combine multiple orders into one order as well as ship orders with multiple items as one item instead of as two small items.

This makes their shipping service more ecologically sound than Amazon's due to the decreased resource use.

*on edit: you know, it would be even better if stores that stocked the kinds of things people wanted existed, so that folks wouldn't have to special order the titles to begin with. In some places they do. Being able to actually go through a bookstore and see and feel the books, looking through them, is better than any kind of online or special ordering.....although online tools can help you find what you're looking for more easily.

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