I’ve been hearing that bookstores are all going out of business because of online book-buying, either as eBooks or cheaper physical books from Amazon. Well, we had family in town recently and they needed some books for the kids. They were in the middle of a cross-country road trip, so we went to the brick-and-mortar store. Excited to influence my nieces with some choice reads, I brought along a list of five or six books.
Barnes and Noble had absolutely ZERO of them in stock, but they “could order them” for me. Dear brick-and-mortar booksellers: if you do not have a book in stock, I will not order it from you because that is a waste of both my time and money. I have to pay your higher price for the book and then I have to drive back to the store days later. Instead I can buy it for less on Amazon and have free 2-day shipping. I’ve heard Amazon sales aren’t as good for authors, but no one seems to be explaining beyond that, and they are insanely convenient for the consumer.
So, I’m really torn. Of course I want my money to stay in the community. Of course I want authors to make more per sale. Of course I enjoy actually going to a book store and seeing a gazillion books and buying something I otherwise might have never seen (okay, I enjoy that part, but my wallet especially does not).
But I’m seriously lazy and getting me to spend money on a book for me when I spend so much money on things for my kids (like Pixie’s never-ending medical bills) is not easy. I also usually buy ebooks for myself these days. I don’t know what the solution here is. There’s only so much shelf-space in a real store, so they can’t literally stock everything. On the other hand, these weren’t obscure titles and sometimes they carried the latest in each series but not the first book. And the simple truth is that if you don’t carry the product, you lost the sale. I still feel guilty not buying locally though. I have trouble justifying the extra expense (sometimes several dollars per product) but I like the idea of keeping money in my community. On the other hand, I try hard not to use brick-and-mortar stores as Amazon’s showrooms. If I get good service somewhere, I’m more likely to buy there, even at a slightly higher price.
I really don’t know what the best solution here is, so please feel free to give me your thoughts in the comments!
Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Even though you didn’t give the various local bookstores your custom at that time, you could drop them an email w/ the relevant ISBNs, asking their buyer be made aware of what you were looking for & didn’t find.
You could update this post with the list 🙂
If you search books.google.com for the titles, ‘about this book’ leads to something shortenable like:
for each book, “buy this book in print” -> IndieBound’s buy-local search engine…
gives several dozen links for an ISBN, but nothing that seems to be local focused like IndieBound.
Judging “what to stock” is a game I don’t envy.