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Amazon vs Independent Book Stores

 
 
roger
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 08:57 pm
Un huh. The reviews of handtools are priceless.
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quinn1
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 09:25 pm
I buy more from Amazon for others, it seems to be the easiest way to do that, shop when I have the time, its on my mind and I have a clue what they want, its delivered to my door.

I tend to shop the big guys quite often and actually enjoy Borders and Barnes Cafes while browsing, and often I actually pick up the discounted books from them..unless Im all into having something in my hot little hands right away, of course.

I try to get back to the original homestead at a certain time of year as the local library does a whole weekend of $5.00 a bag full. The only downfall...people think I havent returned my library books.

I keep a look out on EBay also for any first editions or upgrades/replacements I am looking for, it usually ends up working out well.

I would like to find a local independant but, they are few and far between. When in the Harvard Sq area well...theres a few places but, I still havent found a place to really really enjoy and make a special trip to yet.

MerryAndrew...thanks for that tip, never thought about that before actually and got MM down the street that I have yet to pop into...now I know I will have to!
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mamajuana
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 09:38 pm
We still have a number of quirky independents around here, including two used book stores that let you wander as much as you want. We have almost all the big chains,too. I rarely buy books anymore. Mostly because of lack of room, and I do a lot of re-reading of what we have (we moved from our house to an apartment, with our books, which now cover a lot of available space). So I'm back where I started - and never really left - the libraries. I just feel good in a library, and if I don't find what I'm looking for, they'll order it from another library for me. Around here, most of the local libraries belong to a parent group, and it works well.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 10:04 pm
Well, I haunt one used bookstore locally, and check out another finer used bookstore a little less often. That second one has almost no fiction, but a lot of history, art, etc.

When looking for a book I read and saved a review of, I used to always go to Powells.com first, and once in a while to Amazon. But now that I care so much about a2k, I plan go to the Amazon link on the Control panel page here. I mean to check out the abe.com site too, it sounds good.
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Piffka
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 10:45 pm
There isn't a bookstore that I don't like! There are fewer and fewer independent stores selling only new books. We have a good used store and an independent store in our little town. The used store is quite good. The owner originally owned both stores and decided his real love was used stuff, so he sold the other to a friend. (I admit, the independent new books store rarely has anything I want, but I still TRY to shop there.) The man who started them both helps me price special books for the library sale that I run twice yearly and is quite a character; he's in his eighties with some of the bushiest eyebrows I've ever seen. In the next town over is a place called the Tacoma Book Center, which I used to visit once a week, now go in much less frequently. It has a tremendous section on history which Mr.P enjoys, as well as great hard-cover fiction. They sell through ABE Books which has really improved their sales they said. (They are one of the biggest buyers at my book sale, so I get to know these guys in a casual way.) Every morning they have a big stack of brown parcels to be mailed -- nice to see it works for them, too. (I love ABE Books!) I buy some books from (hold-your-nose) Costco, I buy from Borders, and I really enjoy the local University Book Store, especially its main store in Seattle. I just got a tip from somebody that the University Village Barnes & Noble has a highly respected bird book, THE GREAT AUK, on remainder, it was $75, now $10. I'm thinking of taking a quick trip up to get it. (Just what I need, another book!)

As an aside, our local Goodwill has books but prices them quite high. $3.50 and up for a hardback and $1.50 for a paperback... even a crummy Romance novel. Library book sale prices are MUCH better, 50 cents for a paperback, $1 for trade paperbacks & hardbacks, with a selected few at prices up to $10.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 11:11 pm
I am slightly envious of our Booklegger's used book store owners; it is a kind of small paradise to me. Well, so is the more elegant Eureka Book Store....
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Piffka
 
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Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2003 11:18 pm
Books are treasures and, what did I read recently?, the kindest of teachers since they never scold or make you feel you're not learning properly. They have ultimate patience.

There is something wonderful about the slow pace of a book store, especially one that has a coffee and tea shop within. Next time you're in WA, Osso, we'll have to visit the bookstores. Seattle has a great one, the Elliott Bay Book Store, just across the street and down from the Clog Shop. We could spend HOURS there.
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Jim
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 01:26 am
I love bookstores. Both my wife and I can wander around them and lose track of time. It used to drive our kids crazy before they grew up and moved off.

Since I work in Sandland, on-line bookstores are about the only option available to us. I usually make an Amazon order every month or two. This is usually an Amazon-US order, but there are a few UK authors I read whose books are available 12-18 months earlier if bought from Amazon-UK.

We get catalogs by mail about once a month from The Scholar's Bookshelf out of New Jersey. Thet specialize in deliciously arcane history books you otherwise wouldn't know existed. I just finished "The Silk Industry of Renaissance Venice" bought from them.

For out-of-print books, abebooks.com is hard to beat. They are a common database of perhaps 100s of independent bookstores. I just mailed off the check to Cascade Books this morning to buy "Economic Expansion in the Byzantine Empire".

Still, nothing beats being in a good bookstore in person. Our favorite now is Bookmans in Tucson. They're a chain of large used bookstores. I'm in hog heaven there.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 01:51 am
Jim

This link might be intereting as well:
8 million antiquarian books on offer from over 1400 antiquarian book dealers all over the world:
ZVAB
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SealPoet
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 04:57 am
Any of you Boston types know where Avenue Victor Hugo (used and antiquarian) went after they lost their lease (I think it may have been to cyberspace...)

Just can't browse at Amazon. B/N, Borders are okay, but I too prefer to support the little guy. Concord (MA) Bookstore, Willow Books in Acton. Used bookstores wherever they may be spotted.

I have an excuse/quest for the used booksellers... trying to replace my copy of the first (slim) volume of Grooks by Piet Hein. Walked into a used bookstore in Marblehead (Much Ado About Books) on a whim with Mrs. SP. Walked out an hour later with a freeby canvas bookbag stuffed full of our new aquisitions.

- - - - - -

Amazon, though. I buy a lot of CDs there. I am too old (too cynical?) to deal with the chain music stores. Hear something reviewed on NPR, look it up on the web, put it in my 'shopping cart'.
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Tartarin
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 06:52 am
Mamaj -- I don't know where you are in relation to Princeton or how well you know it, but I hope you have been to Micawber's (and I hope it's still there!). It's one of the great independents.

One of the blessings of the independent bookstore is the people who work there. In two cases in which I moved to a place where I knew no one, my entire social life in that area stemmed from conversations in the independent bookstore!
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littlek
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 07:12 am
Harvard Square also has a couple or 3 good used record/tape/CD stores. If I'm not sure I'll like an album, I'll buy a used CD first.

I agree with those who've said that they like browsing. I love it. I like books, the feel, the smell, the covers, etc.

Beth's right, the bookstore I like is dangerous!
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Piffka
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 07:27 am
I think it is possible to browse in Amazon... they give you lots of options to check other books. I like to see what other people have bought who also bought the book I'm looking at. I like to view other books by the same author, and I enjoy reading (though it's never led to a purchase) the lists of recommended books.

Browsing Amazon is not the same as being there, handling the books, opening at random pages, smelling that bookish smell, but it has its uses.
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Tartarin
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 08:11 am
Agree about the look, smell, etc! They're two different experiences, good bookstore vs. Amazon (not to mention the other terrific sites for searching for rare, out-of-print books). What's amazing (when you think about how the demise of independent bookstores was imminent, not to mention the demise of Amazon -- no one in business thought it would succeed!), is that we have them to choose from.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 09:08 am
I worked in a couple of small bookstores in Eugene during my salad days, and I have fond memories of the experience. Alas, both stores are gone now, as are several others in that town. I haven't been there in a while, so there may be some others that have sprung up in their stead, but I know there can't be as many.

Cities like Boston and Seattle can still support independents(including those that cater to niche tastes, e.g., mystery stores), but the smaller cities and towns have really taken a hit. And it's sad, because those stores were also gathering places. And that's one thing that Amazon can't offer...
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ehBeth
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 10:58 am
This discussion is reminding me of the first time I met littlek, quinn, jespah, SealPoet ... wandering through Salem, Mass - when the whole group stopped - we weren't at our destination - there was no plan to stop - no discussion - but there was a book store. It was a funny moment.
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ehBeth
 
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 11:08 am
One of the other forums I hang out at has the same question on the go right now - this is the big winner from the west coast (getting lots of raves)
http://www.powells.com/info/storeinformation.html
from their site:

Quote:
From humble storefront beginnings in 1971 on a derelict corner of northwest Portland, Powell's Books has grown into one of the world's great bookstores, with seven locations in the Portland metropolitan area, and one of the book world's most successful dot-coms (www.powells.com), serving customers worldwide.

Powell's roots begin in Chicago, where Michael Powell, as a University of Chicago graduate student, opened his first bookstore in 1970. Encouraged by friends and professors, including novelist Saul Bellow, Michael borrowed $3,000 to assume a lease on a bookstore. The venture proved so successful that he managed to repay the loan within two months.

Michael's father Walter, a retired painting contractor, worked one summer with Michael in the Chicago store. He so enjoyed his experience that upon returning to Portland he opened his own used bookstore.

Walter swamped his original location by buying every marketable used book that came through the door, finally pushing the whole operation into a former car dealership. The old car dealership has undergone many transformations, and Powell's today looks little as it did when Walter opened his shop in the early '70s.

Michael joined Walter in 1979, creating a bookstore with a unique recipe that, though viewed as unorthodox, worked: Used and new, hardcover and paperback, all on the same shelf, open 365 days a year and staffed by knowledgeable and dedicated book lovers.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 11:36 am
Powell's is definitely worth seeking out if you're in Portland -- very, very popular. That must be a good forum!
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 12:16 pm
I was just in Portland last weekend, stayed near Powell's and made several visits. Found books there that I can't find in Seattle. It's a true treasure. What's great, among other things, is the fact that they stock new and used, hard and soft cover--sometimes for the same titles! Talk about options...
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mamajuana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 12:33 pm
Books, books, books! What's the matter with all you people? There are shoes to buy, hamburgers to eat, lunch dates to keep, decisions to be made about the right loaf of bread...all you do is natter on about books!

You give the lie to the great, placid, uninformed American public. Is this what you want? Is this a nefarious plot to undercut the entertainment business with its heavy reliance on non-thinking product?

I'm asahmed of all you unabashed readers. This is positively unAmerican.

Onward. Rally round the small bookstore. Send books to the White House. Let them know the readers shall prevail.

God, how I love these threads on books. It restoreth my soul.
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