Hybrid Store: Amazon

Best For: Nearly anything

We know—including Amazon on our site is a controversial choice. Though we prioritize affordable online book retailers, we tend to review small- and independently-owned businesses. We make this decision to drive your attention (and dollars) into the hands of people who care deeply for books and ethical working environments. Amazon has come under scrutiny for a variety of reasons, but we have made the decision to review them because, well, they sell cheap books.

Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 as an online bookstore. Books continue to be one of Amazon’s primary commodities, as the company is able to offer popular and newly-released titles at a fraction of what it might cost elsewhere. The company sells both physical books and eBooks, allowing readers to choose which format best suits their needs.

Recently, Amazon has made the jump to brick-and-mortar locations in several U.S. cities, including Chicago, Seattle, New York City, and Portland. With thirteen current locations and plans to expand, Amazon’s bookstores utilize demographic data of their cities and neighborhoods to curate a book selection targeted specifically to its residents. For example, Chicago’s Amazon Books is located in the Southport corridor, which is home to young, progressive 30-somethings and families. Therefore, the store’s bookshelves include a diverse selection of children’s books, political commentary, and newly-released novels. At the very least, it’s an interesting idea.