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Amazon vs Independent Book Stores

 
 
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 02:29 pm
Where you you buy your books? Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other chains offer convenience (and discounts), but they lack the coziness of independent stores. The big chains have taken business from small stores, and there are fewer book shops around these days.

Do you prefer one or the other?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 11,953 • Replies: 97
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fealola
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 02:40 pm
I like the coziness of the independant book stores, especially the ones who specialize. I like the randomness of buying used books at garage sales, libraries and from those little bins they put out on the sidewalk in front of the small book stores. The problem is, the prices on the new books are much better in the big chains.

It's not just book stores, either. We had an old fashioned hardware store in our small town, that was owned by several generations. The service was quite personal. I really love hardware stores, but now what's left is mostly the mega-chains.

The smaller mom and pop businesses in our town were (are) also very philanthropic within the community.

I don't think there is too much we can do about it. It's inevitable that most of these places will go out of business. I suppose the internet is helping some.
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Vivien
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 02:41 pm
well - I PREFER the Independent bookshops - but i do also buy from Amazon 'cos of their prices - and they are addictive.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 02:45 pm
I prefer the independent stores, and luckily for me, we have some big ones here that can survive in the current climate. Both offer discounts and other amenities. I would use Amazon if it would get me something I couldn't get otherwise, and I've also used abebooks.com for on-line access to lots of independent stores.

I wish there were a quaint old book shop in my neighborhood, though, but there isn't...
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fealola
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 02:48 pm
I just bought my first book from Amzon the other day. Their price was about #20.00. Then I noticed a list below the main list that referred to other vendors. I ended up buying it from a small used book store across the country for $1.99! So I guess the small stores get some business that way!
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 02:51 pm
I'm buying quite a lot from amazon ... only to support this site here (in Germany and Austria, books costs all the same in any shop).

I still go and get books from my local bookshop, when I want to look at them at first (and when I need them faster than by post and/or when I had to pay postage at amazon).

Besides, I get about 50% of my books from a professional European catalogue of antiquarian books on the Internet (ZVAB).
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Dartagnan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 02:52 pm
I don't want to be too much of a shill here, but I get no advantage from advocating for these guys. Just a lot of small bookshops trying to survive the onslaught. And a great way to buy books that are out of print or from other countries:

www.abebooks.com
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Vivien
 
  0  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 02:59 pm
At a small town about 15 miles away there is a gallery and bookshop (independent) that i love to visit. they sell old/antiquarian and new books and there is a very very reputable gallery adjoining. There are big leather armchairs and you always get a complimentary cup of coffee (Goldmark Gallery and bookshop in Uppingham if anyone is going that way)
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 03:05 pm
That sounds wonderful, Vivien. I have fond memories of bookshops in the UK, including the Third Eye Centre in Glasgow. It was (and I hope still is) more than a bookstore--more of a cultural center--and a great place to browse.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 03:12 pm
We buy from Amazon because it supports Able2know financially.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 03:21 pm
Haven't seen an independent book store in years. We've got Hastings and Waldenbooks. It's easier to find titles at Amazon, and if the local stores don't have what I want, Amazon shipments arrive before Waldenbooks has figured out how to place a special order.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 03:23 pm
I usually hit the local discount book places here first ("Buck a Book" or "Half Price Books") if what I'm looking for is older. I like the smaller stores and being able to browse at my leisure. I do pop into the local Barnes & Noble sometimes if I'm by there at lunch time just to see what they have.

I've only bought a few books through Amazon (maybe 1 a year) mostly because I have this whole instant gratification thing going on and waiting 10 days for an order to arrive doesn't do anything for that. I have bought a few other non-book items through Amazon though.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 03:24 pm
Well, that's just the difference here:

it takes 2 - 3 days to get a book from amazon, but when I order it at my independent bookshop, it's there at ten the other morning.
(There are three wholesale dealers delivering him.)
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 03:50 pm
I've only bought one book from Amazon. And that was from Amazon.UK.com. And that was because I was steered to that site from another website and I had already discovered that the book I was looking for (a translation from the Swedish) was not getting any kind of distribution in US outlets.

Like Fishin', I like instant gratification and, hence, avoid shopping on line. I also like to handle what I'm buying before I buy it.

As for independent vs Barnes & Noble, the independents are getting few and far between these days, except for the antiquarian used book shops. I like to browse in the small shops. But, frankly, if I know precisely what book I want, I'll go to the large chain store where I can be reasonably certain they'll have it on hand.

BTW, Fishin', do you ever check out the collection at the Goodwill stores? I've foiund some absolute treasures at the main Morgan Memorial outlet on Harrison Ave. They get donations of whole libraries, and just price everything at $1 to $2 and put the whole lot out helter-skelter. Go dig for the nuggest.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 05:53 pm
I love the local book stores around here. My favorite is the Harvard Book Store. They have a used section downstairs and a remainders section (several areas for remainders) that house nearly as many books as are on the full-price shelves. I love that place.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 06:51 pm
Merry Andrew wrote:
BTW, Fishin', do you ever check out the collection at the Goodwill stores? I've foiund some absolute treasures at the main Morgan Memorial outlet on Harrison Ave. They get donations of whole libraries, and just price everything at $1 to $2 and put the whole lot out helter-skelter. Go dig for the nuggest.


I don't make a regular habit of checking them out. Prolly a good idea though. In the past I've found a lot of "soft" books (Romance novels galore!) in Goodwill and Salvation Army stores but most of what I read is history, science or technical stuff.

I'll have to keep the Goodwill stores in mind. Thanks! Wink
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 07:01 pm
I buy a lot of texts so Amazon usually has the titles first, even the very unique USGS titles from Pueblo. However, for pleasure reading and art texts, I still like to browse..You cant browse on Amazon. if Amazon would run a browse list by category, this would be a boone.
My fav bookstore is The Tatterd Cover (Page?) in Denver.
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williamhenry3
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 07:09 pm
Even though we have the major bookstore chains here and I love to browse them, I find www.amazon.com to have the best prices . . . and the quickest service.

Recently, I ordered Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on amazon. I placed the order on the Monday of week the book was supposed to hit the stores on Saturday.

When I placed the order, amazon told me to expect a delay, one I fully expected due to the book's demand and my late order. Imagine my surprise when the new Harry Potter tome was delivered to my home on the Saturday when people around the world were standing in line to get their copies.

Now, that's service Exclamation
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 08:07 pm
I've never bought anything from Amazon. I don't think I've ever bought anything at B/N, Indigo or Chapters - I do recall browsing, but not buying.
I buy at independent bookstores. Most things I'm interested in will be found in used bookshops. I love Goodwill. I'm biased of course, as I worked in a Goodwill Rehabilitation department for close to a decade - and went to the bookstore almost every single day. I've found some amazing treasures there. I'm found of remainder bookshops as well - kind of like the downstairs part of Kris' Harvard Book Store - which was a very dangerous place to be with cash. If I absolutely have to have a current book - which happens a couple of times a decade - I'll go independent. If I can wait 3 - 6 months, the hardback will usually show up at the main Goodwill here.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 08:18 pm
One of the reason's I find Amazon so useful (and I use it for a lot more than books) is the reviews. Probably the reviews are more useful for things like kitchen equipment because I've usually made up my mind about a book before I order it. But I do use their second-hand option a lot -- for both videos and books. Really -- when you live in the boonies with no library (to speak of), no bookstores, etc., Amazon is a lifesaver. I almost never buy the "latest hottest." I wait for paperback (because I like the way they feel and look), and often used paperbacks.
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