cafe

Why Amazon is better than the local bookstore.

I recently wanted to buy 10 copies of a book that was very important to me and distribute them out as gifts this holiday season.

As I am a huge ‘buy local” enthusiast my first thought was to head down to my (last) local bookstore and ask them for a price on 10 copies. They came back with an estimate of $160 and “they would call me in a few weeks when it was in”. I then went over to Amazon and realized I could have those same books…delivered to my door within 2 days for about $60 less.

That’s a pretty big difference and it really got me thinking about buying local vs amazon when it comes to books. So I wanted to create a list that summarized all of the major points that were important to me and see which one would win.

Cost:

Winner: Amazon

This one isn’t too much of a surprise that Amazon wins based purely on the book cover price…we all know they are cheaper. But I’m also a big fan of looking at the “hidden costs” of an item and I have many many times paid a premium for a local service so why not this time? Well…the book isn’t printed here locally…the author probably isn’t local either…also…the dollars I “save” here by using Amazon will almost assuredly be spent locally. At best a couple of dollars might be put into the local community…into arguably a pretty inefficient business.

 

Customer service:

Winner: Tie

You probably thought that I would have given this to the local store….they are great and there is something about wandering around a store sipping a coffee and getting a personal recommendation. The problem with a personal recommendation by a single book dweeb is that it’s really more his opinion than understanding of your own tastes…Amazon has complex formula’s from hundreds (or thousands) of reviews and buying history.There is no way the local book dweeb can compete with that and in my own experience Amazon is way more accurate at suggesting something I would enjoy.

Now I do love the fact that my local bookstore has an area for authors to come in and talk to the public..I’ve used that space many a time in fact…this is something that Amazon simply can’t compete with. Naysayers will say if we don’t support the local bookstore this type of facility would disappear…I would argue that the cost even for this single purchase could rent me an appropriate space for an evening.

Literary/Selection:

Winner: Amazon

We all “know” that a local bookstore is a pivotal part of a neighborhood and community and encourages people to read more books…or does it? Nope actually people that use Amazon/Kindle read more books. It’s just so easy…maybe it’s a sign of myself getting older but after a bottle of wine now instead of going out to the club I might hop onto my kindle and buy 2-3 books. Checking my kindle the next morning to find out what I bought is way better than the fear of what text messages I might have sent!

Amazon can of course draw on a huge amount of physical space that would dwarf any real bookstore.

Final Thoughts:

The Minimalist in me also loves the appeal of e-books…but the anti-mega corporation part of me is concerned that once Amazon has ran everyone out of business they will no longer have the same level of customer service/amenities and cost savings they once did. So those concerns cancel themselves out. For now I still plan to use both…books that I

 

I also want to give an Honorable mention┬áto Albrahama books here in Edmonton, they are a fantastic local bookstore but have really carved out a niche that sets them apart in dealing with older hard to find books…most of the above does not apply to them. In fact I think bookstores are going to have to really work hard (but that it’s totally doable) to diversify their business. Get more authors in…get prices down…setup coffee shops instore…offer things amazon can’t.

 

In case anyone is wondering the book I was Great Idea’s “Where I lived and what I lived for” by Thoreau. I know it’s almost cliche but have to say that this book is one of the most important I have ever read. I actually carry a copy on me almost always.

 

Down at the Remedy

I’ve got to say that Remedy Cafe is still one of my favorite spots in the city. I think the main reason I really enjoy it is because it’s such a good mix of coffee and booze….not a bar…but not a coffee shop….It’s Janelle’s birthday tomorrow but we are going out a bit tonight because I am going to be in the Master Composter class tomorrow. I’ve finally gotten full access to the new Community website I am working on so looking forward to doing some changes there.

Wild earth

One can’t quite explain why so many people prefer an outdoor cafe to their own patio…least I can’t but I just love the people and dog watching down here

story slam

On Wednesday I had a most awesome night.

A few times a year (but I should more often) I end up at the Edmonton Story Slam…which is hosted in different venues (welll.Haven before it flooded and now Bohemia) across the city. Was one of the first one’s there but I ran into an awesome grandma named eleda who sat with me the whole night and did some of her poetry.
Just a totally awesome lady who I had so much fun trading stories with. I am going to be using her homemade cough syrup recipe soon as I can get myself a handful of choke cherries
Janelle has been awesome at being wicked lately too…made some awesome apple crisp using apples from our crab apple tree and a butternut soup the other day that was superb.
While I was at the storyslam I ran into Holly and Bodge(sp) which was totally surprising as I haven’t seem them in forver and bodge (my aussie) just landed here in Edmonton a couple nights before, might even run into him today…
I love seeing recurring characters come in and out of my life from the other side of the world (and the country), first met him back when we were in Winnipeg so crazy he still is popping into our lifes here.
Sitting out on my patio now…love the sun and shade with my two cats…got blinki a nice collar so if she gets lost someone will hopefully find her…listening to 40’s swing music cranked….love it.
Tonight I am going to the night market downtown and relearning backgammon…that’s it for now folks.