We all hate Amazon.
OK. We love it and we hate it.
Because when Lisa says to order a few more rubber wine stoppers that go with the vacuum pump, I have better things to do with my time than start wandering down Fifth Avenue looking for the rubber wine stopper store. So Amazon it is.
Amazon is so convenient and so seductive that it has been killing off main street stores (and now even bigger ones, like Toys R Us) for years.
But when it comes to books, the very thing Jeff Bezos started with, there IS an alternative.
Last year, Lisa got me a unique gift for my birthday. As book subscription from a small but excellent private bookseller in London called Heywood Hill. They are so good that they have a little seal on their stationery that says "By Appointment To Her Majesty The Queen - Bookseller". (We have been trying to get an appointment to Her Majesty as Video Journalists, but so far, my letters to Buckingham Palace remain unanswered).
In any event, last October, Lisa got me a one-year subscription with Heywood Hill of London. Every month they send me another book. They pick it out. You fill out a long questionnaire about your reading history, your likes and dislikes and so, and then you get a private book selector. In my case, I got Eleanor Franzen.
Since then, Elinor has proven to be a great book picker. Her selection so far has ranged from Ron Chernow's Grant to Simon Heffer's The Age of Decadence 1880-1914. (I like history).
Last month, when we were in London, we paid a visit to Heywood Hill's small London bookshop, on Curzon Street. It was small and elegant and filled with books and book lovers.
So much better than Amazon!
Each month, I get a new book wrapped in brown paper and tied with a ribbon. This month's selection (Napoleon, by Michael Broers), was also accompanied by a card.
It said that Heywood Hill had so many USA customers (I see I am not alone) that they were launching Heywood Hill USA. They asked us USA readers to take a photo of their Heywood Hill ribbon and post it on social media with the hashtag #HeywoodHillUSA.
I thought I would do them one better and suggest that you get in touch with them directly: www.Heywoodhill.com
You can stick it to Amazon AND get your books from a much more deserving source.