Knitting book sources

I have been reading along as a lurker on a self publishing listserv, since I would like to do more pattern publishing in the future, and one issue that recently came up is that of Amazon in the publishing world, specifically as it pertains to knit publishing.

First of all, full disclosure: I am a big Amazon user. I tend to be a spendthrift, but I like to emphasize “thrift,” so I enjoy the discounts and the savings on shipping. And as much as I resent the nonstop advertising flashing into my brain when I visit their site, I do get something out of recommendations on occasion. Several books in my collection have come from Amazon and from following their links from other books.

That said, I found the listserv discussion interesting and one main point that I took from it is that many knitting publishers don’t use Amazon at all.

For those who do, they may gain in profits based on the sheer volume that they sell, and they may target the market that only knows how to search through Amazon. But they profit much more from direct sales, and most sell through their own websites.

Another interesting point is that knitting designers who choose not to use Amazon or whose books are out of print may still find their books for sale through the Marketplace, by independent sellers who may ask upwards of $100. Most of us are aware that some of Alice Starmore’s books are out of print, and people are asking over $300 for copies of some of her titles. While some people would never dream of spending this money, some people really want the book!

But a word to the wise: shop around before you pay anyone $300!

I can’t vouch for the availabililty of Ms. Starmore’s books, although Amazon does have some titles, but I found at least two other authors’ books at that Amazon does NOT have, and for which Marketplace sellers were asking over $100.

Additionally, if you are like me and tend to focus your search in one place, branch out and try other suppliers like Unicorn Books, Halcyon, Schoolhouse Press, or Interweave Press.

And if you believe in supporting the people who do this work, rather than the corporations, buy titles directly from their websites. Here are a few titles to get you started.

Knitting with a Smile by Inger Fredholm

I don’t own any of these, so if you do, let me know what you think!

Where do you buy your knitting books?


3 thoughts on “Knitting book sources

  1. I buy my knitting books from the yarn shop. Before I *worked* at the yarn shop, I would also occasionally buy knitting books from various sources; I have at least one book from our University Bookstore and one from Amazon Marketplace (Montse Stanley’s knitting tome, bought um, five or six years ago after I checked it out from the library). I’m a “think global, shop local” kinda girl and yeah, it costs me more upfront. I also buy a lot of my books from our local book stores and Powell’s when I go to Portland, OR, for weekend trips, and I’m a HUGE library proponent. We have really good ones here. Seattle is a book-loving, local-shopping, liberal town. I fit in pretty well. 🙂

    (ah, you got the morning long answer.)

  2. As an employee of an independent, family-owned bookstore, I buy local. I buy at work! 🙂
    But seriously, I try my very best to not use Amazon, Chapters, or any other big chain for my purchases. It is hard sometimes, as even with my staff discount, things are still cheaper on Amazon. (Regular staff discount is 30%, Amazon’s is regularly 37%. Bookstores buy books anywhere between 40%-44%). I like to support local businesses, I bought most of my books here even before I got my job.
    Working in a bookstore, I get people every day saying ‘well, it’s X amount on Amazon, can you match that?’. I get really frustrated with these people, so they get my fake smile and some variation on ‘places like that put places like this out of business’. Amazon is only making about 7% on their book sales, but all the other stuff, and the volume of orders keeps them going. A brick-and-mortar store needs more profit. We’re not gouging, we charge the price printed on the book.
    I’m also amazed at the number of people who think all bookstores are Amazon or Chapters. I have worked in two different, LARGE (20,000+ square feet) independent bookstores, and have lost count of the number of people who try to pay with a Chapters gift card, or use their Indigo discount card. It makes me very sad.

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