Reducing My Amzn Footprint

(participating in Capitalism under protest)

Original Post: 11/16/2021. Annual updates below.
A few years ago I decided to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, Amzn as a supplier. Today’s post will update my progress; looking at my purchases from them, earning Affiliate fees for promoting their items, and making sales through their websites.

This post is inherently self-congratulatory. Here I want to recognize and acknowledge the privilege allowing me the option of paying a higher price, or waiting longer for delivery, and order items or services from a smaller (and preferably local) supplier. As well as noting that there are other firms (arguably pretty much every incorporated business) that, to more or less a degree, engage in the same or similar bad practices. See the list of Related Posts at the end of this one.

I have refused to spend a single dollar at the Walton family empire. But I do use Target. So much of ‘adulting’ is balance, compromise.

Working for more than a decade for a multi-national corporation selling against smaller businesses, I know the counter arguments. I was one of a thousand (or so) employees living, and spending our paycheques, in Ohio. The retail division also collected state and local sales taxes; supporting our local economies.

So much of what we can buy is manufactured overseas- and that’s another whole batch of harm. Just as “clean coal” is an oxymoron, there’s no “clean capitalism“. Harm reduction is a valid approach.

Most of my 2020 Stimulus payments were invested in my businesses (The Digital Gryphon llc). Those funds, along with an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan, were distributed through a variety of mostly-local independent businesses. I was quite happy to’ve reduced my spend at AMZN to US$300 for all of 2020, and expected to reduce it significantly this year.

At the end of 2020 I accepted an offer to sell the 110 year old, soul-sucking, money pit of a house. The buyer was adamant we close before everything shut down for the year-end holidays. We had to move quickly to find this place, which is half the square footage of the old place. This resulted in spending $285 at Amzn in the first quarter of 2021 to acquire furniture to fit very specific, tight, locations. Those purchases were my last from them. So, my reduction wasn’t as great as I’d hoped, but it has been $0 since April 1, 2021.

There were additional purchases made directly from the manufacturer or importer after discovering their items on the Amzn website. It generally took a minimal amount of time to source, and the purchases weren’t significantly more expensive. Each of those orders (even if I paid the same amount) meant the supplier received higher income from the sale.

Affiliate Marketing
As with many bloggers, I registered with them to advertise books and other products from their website in exchange for a small (4% on books, iirc) affiliate marketing fee. The minimum payout for this program is higher than my annual earnings; not a reliable income stream.

Although I’m in the process of replacing those links with ones leading to my shop, there are a number of individual posts yet to change. Also, books (my own, and of others) published through ‘Amzn Independent Publishing‘ (formerly CreateSpace) are generally not available through or most independent stores.

Here I must note that does not discount as heavily as Amzn. That’s because they pay a fair Affiliate rate on sales, and donate millions of dollars to independent bookstores. They are a Certified B Corp; meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.

Spending a bit more (or buying less stuff) to fight against the monopolistic tendencies of Amzn et al.

See the next section for my plans on my own titles. When or if to stop promoting books published there by people I like is a decision yet to be made.

In the past I offered my graphic designs through Amzn’s Print On Demand service. Those have since been relocated to my Threadless shop. Also, I no longer list any used books through their website; instead donating them to other people or places.

The one aspect of selling on their site that will take the longest to resolve is my self-published books. Each of them contain ‘Amzn Independent Publishing’ ISBNs which make them virtually impossible to offer outside of Amzn. Independent bookstores are rightly uninterested in stocking, or even special ordering, such books. For the past few years my revenue from these titles is less than US$30 per year; and certain titles require paying a royalty to the author(s).

Republishing my books with my own ISBN numbers through Ingram Spark requires time and funds. A block of 10 ISBN and individual Listing Fees at Ingram are a fair, but not insignificant expense. And I need to finalize whether to offer my books published at Blurb through Ingram or another sales channel.

So, significant personal progress in reducing my contributions to the behemoth. And yet, still so much to be done.

2021 Final Report:
A gift received over the holidays was a duplicate. Unable to return to Amzn for cash, I returned it for credit which I applied to an order when using them as a ‘supplier of last resort‘. Those transactions added an additional US$42 for a total 2021 spend of US$327.00.

2022 Final Report:
I resorted to them as ‘supplier of last resort‘ for a few items, including a self-published paperback guide to the Sweeney Tarot deck. These purchases meant I had a total 2022 spend of US$50.00.

I’ve made no measurable progress in moving my self-published titles, nor a decision on promoting books by friends.

2023 Final Report:
I resorted to them as ‘supplier of last resort‘ for a few projects. Those items totaled US$135.

I’ve made no measurable progress in moving my self-published titles, nor a decision on promoting books by friends.

YTD Report 05/30/24:
Unable to return a gift to Amzn for cash, I returned it for credit. That was applied to a small order, so I’ve spent US$5.37 to date.

Related Posts:
Stop shopping at BigCo;
Corporate Fundamentalism;
Machine-Produced Wealth;
Buy Local- Support Small Business.

Recommended Books:
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