I am a Bookstore Mooch – Take Three

Check out Orson Scott Card’s rant about Amazon’s business practices. This rings very true to me who has just spent a considerable amount of Christmas money on Amazon and who bought just about all his books in 2011 there.

This also ties into my recent rants about Amazon’s quality of editing on Kindle books. To their credit, they refunded my money for the book I referenced as an example.

But Orson Scott Card’s comments on Amazon are correct. Their quality is going down rapidly now that the competition is in decline, with Borders gone. I am still a bookstore mooch, but I am rethinking my strategy.

I hope it’s not too late.

3 thoughts on “I am a Bookstore Mooch – Take Three

  1. Eric Petrie

    Glad you’re coming back to your senses. An e-book user like yourself must still have a place on a shelf somewhere for a few books. Digital ghost-stores and real life bookstores certainly can get along together. You just need to find a reason to live a double life.

    Here is my suggestion: for every ten e-books you download on your digital greeder, make the tough decision to buy one single hardcover. Then, when you are in a nostalgic mood, and want to remember the good old days when mom and dad were still alive, put your feet up and actually turn pages with your fingers.

    Then, either choose a single bookcase to hold these fine quality editions, or get into the habit of recouping a part of the extra money you had to spend on the book by selling it to a used bookstore.

    As Borders and Barnes & Noble and all kinds of small specialty bookstores become more and more rare, I know that one kind of specialty store will still be there: the used bookstore. Their prices may increase (or maybe not, as libraries continue to empty their shelves). But they will be there for people like me who will happily enter them as a rare oasis from digital madness.

    Who knows? Maybe the next religion will be a bookstore based rejection of digitized media, in which real instruments will perform music by real musicians, and well-bound books will be treated as sacred objects.

    This will be especially true in the epoch after the first collapse of the digital archives.

    1. Hmmm. There is a shelf with a hundred hardcopy books on the wall to my left. I buy novels in eBook format. I buy picture books, coffee table books, books with graphs and illustrations, art books, reference books, many non-fiction books, all in hardcopy. You can’t leaf around in an eBook.

      The point of my post was less about the book business in general than about what happens when one company gets a monopoly. If Amazon succeeds in taking down Barnes & Noble, and there is only one place left where you can buy new books (Amazon), the world will be a poorer place.

      So, I need to buy books from Barnes & Noble, eBooks or hardcopy, to balance the scales.

      And yes, The Strand Bookstore in New York City is the best ever.

  2. Eric Petrie

    Hey, I didn’t know that you still bought other pricey books, so I am glad to hear about all of those heavy things to your left.

    And I agree with your point about business: monopolies must be taken down by the consumer and by the state, to keep “the bloodless killing of commerce” from removing all competitors. Excellent point. I just heard that AT&T gave up its bid for T-Mobile.

    A funny thing is happening at a local independent chain that will never reach the scale of Barnes & Noble (Schuler’s Books out of Grand Rapids). They are advertising that they sell google e-books! And like a lot of bookstores, they carefully place their pricing sticker over the ID band that could be scanned by the Amazon Cannibals.

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