I just found out that abebooks, a website marketplace selling second-hand books that I have recommended to lots of people in the three years since I discovered it, is actually owned by Amazon (as is The Book Depository). They bought it in 2008. How disappointing. I have always enjoyed the fact that abebooks provided me with access to independent booksellers selling second-hand books. It honestly never occurred to me that one of the biggest tech companies in the world (according to the headline of a somewhat fluffy Forbes article from a few months ago) might be behind it.
I don't think I've been this disappointed with the relentless march of large companies since I found out that Cadbury (which is now part of Kraft) was going to take over Green & Blacks. I think it was on a blog called Pocket Farm (since disabled because Liz moved to flickr instead), one of the first blogs I ever followed, that a link was posted to a illustration of what companies are controlled by which. Must try and find that link again, it was eye-opening and I thought I was relatively well-informed before that. It really does seem impossible sometimes to not support those huge conglomerates. For now, I may continue to use the abebooks website but mostly just to search for books. Given what the wiki article about them says in relation to charges however, if I find a bookseller with the book I want to buy, I'll be checking out the possibility of buying directly from that bookseller via their own website. And continuing to make use of the local libraries. Now, to just find some more information about getting e-books without having to go through Amazon (because of learning recently that somewhere in the small print of the kindle is the interesting point that you're not buying the books you download, you're licensing them and although no time-frame has yet been put in place, it's possible that it could be done at some stage and that you then 'lose' all your books).