At every Conference this happens. A budget conscious mom visits a publishers booth, looks through the books she's considering, asks the person working the booth (often the family that runs the publishing house for a living or one of the authors they publish) and then announces she will buy the book on Amazon or Ebay instead.
They are trying to save money. I get that. We live on the edge of our budget. In fact this year when trying to teach my 8 year old comparatives and superlatives she wrote: Poor, poorer, broke.
But please lets not be so cruel to these hardworking families! Everytime we buy from Amazon they get only the wholesale price at the publisher which not enough to fund publishing the next book or to properly advertise the ones they have printed.
How many small Catholic businesses are in your diocese? How many closed recently? We had some wonderful small catholic book stores close because everyone started to buy on line who knows they need Catholic books-- but how about the person in need of ministering? Amazon isn't going to stop and pray for the person who bought the book. They won't say "oh that's not right for your struggle you should read Fr. ____"
So how do we help and yet stay on budget? First we pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us to the right resources and that God, Our Father in His Providence will help us acquire them at the right time and the right price. Second be of service to those less fortunate. Before buying next year's books determine which ones we don't need and pray about who needs them. Can you loan it out rather than selling it? Can you donate it to the used book sale at your Conference or a support group gathering? Can you donate it to a library so that Catholic materials will be available?
God cannot give us a gift if our hands are tightly clasping what we already have. We must open our hands and let go.
At the Conference do ask for help, look through the books, get advice. Only purchase what your family needs and can afford. No one expects you to try and save Catholic publishing and small business on your own. But stop and offer a word of encouragement. Put yourself on their email list and maybe a future sale will allow you to purchase directly from them. If the author of a book is there signing and offering a discount and it will save you shipping costs then seriously consider buying right then and there. If you already own the book stop and encourage the author by sharing what you loved about the book and how it helped you.
Let's keep in mind these families paid for the table space, gave up their weekend to travel ($) after packing all these books, then stopped to set up, stood around all day waiting to help you, everything they don't sell needs to be packed back up and then they need to drive home($). When they get home tired, they will find all the normal work of a homeschool family waiting for them.
Having run a conference 2 years in a row now and speaking to hundreds of people about the process, why they come, why they don't, when its successful and when it leaves them broke I have a new found respect for these brave families that put their livlihood entirely in God's hands, in OUR hands trusting God will honor their gift of self. They trust He will help others through their efforts.
So lets pray for them as we pray for our homeschools next year. If we can help them grow by buying direct they will have more resources for evangelization. We will be supporting the missions at home and doing the work of Christ.