Convenience At What Cost?

Big vs Small Book Business

Perhaps you buy books regularly or just now and then from that massive well known online retailer that we all know well but will remain nameless here! It's convenient, there is a lot of choice and you can buy almost anything right? Where's the harm?

Buying used books from there would certainly help reduce your book-related carbon footprint somewhat, compared to buying new (see our New vs Used Books Blog) but do you know how ethical your purchase is? 

In the past this retailer has been widely criticised for ethical issues relating to:

  • climate change and the environment
  • arms & military supply
  • political activities
  • tax avoidance
  • worker/human rights records
  • use of pollutants and toxic chemicals
  • animal rights policies, animal testing & factory farming2

In research compiled by Ethical Consumer, they state that the company "receives our worst rating for environmental reporting."2

In addition to these concerns, single item and fast track delivery often used by businesses like these, for customer convenience, are considered to have a heavier carbon footprint than slower dispatch options.3


So What Can We Do?

It's incredibly easy to sit here in judgement over other companies, point the finger at the big businesses and say that is the problem. It can be harder to communicate and develop relationships with bigger businesses but ethical ratings vary whatever the size of the business. 

The truth is, it's incredibly hard to run a 100% ethical and profitable business and also make shopping choices as a consumer with a totally clean-conscience. It's an imperfect world! But there are things we can do to be more aware, make better choices and reduce the detrimental impact we may have as book lovers.


  • Being more aware - look into the ethical background of the businesses you give your money to. 
  • Using small independent shops more
  • Visiting your library more
  • Asking companies about their views on the environment, animals, tax...anything that matters to you.
  • Drawing the line! What level of ethical compromise is or isn't ok for you? 


At Book Bubble

  • We are a new small business with a quality reading experience and the natural environment as our main priorities
  • We don't send anything fast-track and discourage the sending of small packages by offering free postage for books orders of £20 or more and on our Book Gift Boxes and Book Club Subscriptions
  • We sell only second hand books
  • We only ship to the UK
  • Books are listed all the visit regularly to see what is new in.
  • Please do contact me, Lucie, if you have any questions. I'm always happy to chat. 


Thank you for being along side me..... and happy reading


Book Bubble


2 Ethical Consumer 2022,, ‘ Inc’, accessed 14 August 2022, <>

3 Climate Action 2018,, ‘What is the environmental cost of express shipping deliveries?’, accessed 14 August 2022, <>

Back to blog