A post on why I did my holiday book shopping at Barnes and Noble instead of Amazon.
Guess what? We survived!
Survived what? Black Friday and the busiest shopping weekend of the year! Cyber Monday and more deals that my inbox can tackle in one go! I, too, was one of those insane people going out and about on Thanksgiving night (Although I swore I wouldn’t) mainly because the S.O. and I needed to get rid of our cabin fever at 9 pm on Thanksgiving. Then on Friday it was off to the mall, and what did I learn?
That I couldn’t wait to run home and shop online at a book store.
You see, none of the THREE malls in our area has a book store, and the nearest one to my immediate location is about 15 miles away. The simple reason I am telling you is that it’s getting harder to buy books in person (at least where I am). Fewer places nowadays have a quality selection. This makes me both sad and annoyed. I like physical books. Given a choice, I will always choose the paperback over the ebook copy, if only because it’s easier on my eyes.
So in the end, I ended up online at B&N.com – for a variety of reasons – and I could not have been happier with the experience. When I was in college, Amazon was king for me – time, effort, that handy-dandy free shipping over $25 dollar thing, and ta da, three or four books delivered to your door in a snap!
So why the change?
1.) I have a B&N membership card – Yes, I spent the $25 for the card, but I get free 1-3 day shipping online, and 10% off OR MORE in store. So, I placed two seperate orders this weekend (yes, yes, I know, not good organization on my part) but I paid $0 in shipping. I would have spent about $15 for the 1-3 day option, instead getting it free. B&N even has the free slower shipping option that draws so many people to Amazon, so the two companies are again equal there.
But what about Amazon Prime? You ask, isn’t that just like the B&N Membership? Yes and no. You might get free shipping online, which I do too, but I can also go into a physical store and return my product if I don’t like it, or buy other things at discounted prices if I do. Double Whammy.
2.) Returns – I like being able to go into a store and return something. I like my money being back on my card now. Or I can mail it back. Two choices means two ways to keep me happy.
3.) Tradition and Jobs – Okay, some people may not consider this a reason, but I do. Buying a book at a store means that the store has to hire employees, the employees circulate their paycheck through the system, and thus the economy continues to run. Does amazon have employees? Yes, but yet again not at a store in my community, where the money will circulate locally.
Just a side note: Many people will probably say that Amazon has a better selection of everything, this may be true, but I was looking for books and book-related things in particular!
So now some end points. Yes, I know that I could do even better by purchasing from an independent book store. And I do/have! By the way all, please check out Malaprops, my favorite independent book store (located in Asheville, N.C., so far from me, but still with great stuff online!) Another point is that we all need to take some time to buy local – I know that I went out on Small Business Saturday to look for some specific items I needed at local stores, but this can’t be the only time during the year that we do this.
So what do you all think? Amazon or B&N? Or another site?
(P.S. – I’m not an employee, sponsored by, receiving anything from, or in cahoots with B&N, I just wanted to share my own, personal opinion. I do have a book for sale on B&N and Amazon, but it’s not connected to this in anyway. Thanks!)