[generic] Co-ops and Other Alternatives to the Mega Corps

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#1
I try and use alternatives to Amazon more and more. I don't always succeed..

I noticed that Blackwell UK, also known as Blackwell's and Blackwell Group, is to be an employee-partnership. Toby Blackwell announced in 2009 that the wealth shares would be distributed between staff, transforming the company into an employee-partnership, similar to that of retailer John Lewis, when the company returns to profitability having spent several years experiencing losses. The company reported it was expecting to return to profit in 2012. Source Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwell's

What are your preferred ways to get back at the tax dodging Zaibatsu-Bezo-Walmart-Topshop-Brin-Musk Cabal?

Doesn't need to a be a co-op, small businesses work for me as well.
 
#3
Do you mean in general or just for geeky stuff?

Obvs local game stores or at least specialist game sellers are worth supporting. And amazon doesn't tend to be good on rpg prices anyway.
 
#5
We have an independent organic supermarket place here, so I like to use them for packet goods when I can. I'm not quite up to paying organic vegetable prices though, so usually I get veg at our family-owned greengrocer - though during lockdown I've been doing that more at the supermarket to reduce exposure and brain-load.

For game-related stuff I've used or looked at places including Zatu Games and Magic Madhouse on price.
 
#6
We get most of our veggies from Riverford (mainly because it stops us always buying the same stuff every week) and (since lockdown) our localish farm shop, and our meat is all from the fantastic local butcher. Milk from a local delivery service, plus our local shop (which also has a good range of fruit, veg, groceries and, more importantly, biscuits and beer). Still doing a fortnightly “big shop” using an online supermarket though - wish the Co-op did delivery in our area.

That sort of thing is (relatively) easy compared to making myself not use Amazon(*) because they have the pricing and delivery sewn up for lots of things, and my anti-big-business/monopoly mindset loses out to cost and convenience. Sometimes there isn’t much choice either - we use Kobo ebook readers because they are not tied to Amazon, but now that just ties us to Rakuten instead. I did read an interesting article about Shopify the other day, which suggested that it was a better-than-Amazon platform for small, online businesses, though that isn’t hard by all accounts.

(*) except for games which I buy from friendly (not very) local games stores (eg Rules of Play in Cardiff, which is not even reasonably local, except when visiting student offspring) either in person (not recently) or online
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#8
Yes, Shopify now has the Shop app (in your Play Store) that seems to be an interesting way to find different routes to smaller businesses.
It is also scary how if you want to, it can track all your shopping across all the platform and businesses it interacts with.. but hey they're Canadian right, they're the good guys.. [don't mention Conrad Black or fracking shale oil]

Damn, I thought this was a Cyberpunk thread. :cautious:
it is..
 

Maddz

Rune Priest
#10
Sometimes there isn’t much choice either - we use Kobo ebook readers because they are not tied to Amazon, but now that just ties us to Rakuten instead.
I have a Kobo and I'm not tied to any ebook retailer. I buy most of my ebooks from Amazon, but by no means all. I download the ebooks into Kindle 4 Mac, and then import them into Calibre where I tidy up the metadata before sideloading them onto the Forma (Amazon metadate is frankly rubbish). You do need the DeDRM plug-in and one of the Kindle plug-ins to handle any DRM. I actually buy very little from Kobo - only when I have a decent coupon; I find the desktop interface very clunky and I dislike having to use Adobe Digital Editions to retrieve the ePub file (plus there is the issue that the current ADE DRM hasn't been cracked which means I can't upgrade the Mac yet).
 
#12
#13
@Maddz Thank you! I hadn’t thought (don’t know why) of buying from Amazon - I already use Calibre for the Kobo books (download to the dreadful Windows desktop app, then pull them in to Calibre using Obok DeDRM). We originally went to Calibre so we could share our book collection across the family, but be able to organise them individually, and I wouldn’t want to be without it now.
@MartinP I haven’t tried our library for a while (Overdrive/Adobe) because it was too painful for all sorts of unnecessary reasons - including returns that didn’t return properly and couldn’t be borrowed again, and severely limited selection of the sort of degenerate literature I am interested in (Sci-fi, Fantasy, ...); it was okay for children’s books for a while. I could never get my head round the loan restrictions either - having to wait to borrow an ebook because it was ”on loan” always seemed a bit odd. Maybe I will give it another shot.
 

Maddz

Rune Priest
#14
I use the Apprentice Alf DeDRM which is free and can be found on Github. The latest version now decodes the latest Kindle DRM, but is stuck on ADE 4.x. Unfortunately, upgrading the Mac will cause problems as Catalina only supports ADE 4.x (64-bit). I'd have to keep the old iMac running to support ADE 2.x. ADE 4.x isn't widely used; most stores still use the older ADE 2.x but there are some newer books that use it, and I believe that you don't know which is which until you try and import into Calibre.

Before you start buying from Amazon, read this thread: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=283371. The new DeDRM tools do help! I've just installed them, and I might go for an upgrade to my version of K4Mac (currently on 1.23).

Like you, our local library uses Overdrive/Adobe, and their genre fiction selection sucks (and what there is is firmly aimed at YA). I last checked a year or so ago. The loan restrictions are there because it's like lending a physical copy - only one person at a time. The current imbroglio around the major publishers suing Internet Archive for allowing unrestricted loans is a direct result of that set-up. There's other issues too - out-of-print in copyright older works that have been scanned and digitised is one too.
 
#16
Thanks for the information and link @Maddz, I will have a read through before trying the Amazon route - I have the Apprentice Alf deDRM tools too, though just for Kobo store deDRMing so far.

I took a look at our library again for ebooks after some time, and discovered they now use Borrowbox, so if I can find my login details I will have a rummage and see if the books on offer have improved.
 

Maddz

Rune Priest
#18
Thanks for the information and link @Maddz, I will have a read through before trying the Amazon route - I have the Apprentice Alf deDRM tools too, though just for Kobo store deDRMing so far.
No problem, but don't upgrade your Kindle desktop app yet. It looks like there's an arms race going on as it worked one day but not the next, so it looks like Amazon have implemented a 'change DRM on the fly' scheme to block DRM stripping. I'm on an old version and have auto-upgrade switched off (and I've heard rumours that later versions don't include the ability to turn that off).
 

ltd

Rune Priest
#19
I'm on an old version and have auto-upgrade switched off (and I've heard rumours that later versions don't include the ability to turn that off).
I've done the same. Downloaded the old version a few months back. Worked ok with Calibre so far (fingers crossed).
 
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