Sunday, January 16, 2011
Why We Buy Books Online (And Why We Don't)
On Blog Her, there's an essay about why we buy the books where we do.
From the post...
When I buy online I don't have to deal with commentary on my reading choices. Awhile back I decided that I wasn't going to buy books online unless it was something that I couldn't get at either my local independent bookstore or the bricks and mortar chain bookstore. I called my local indie to see if they had a book in stock and when I went to pick it up I noticed they had a pile of Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games stacked by the cash register. I had read it a few months earlier and when I commented that it was a good read the employee serving me looked at it, sniffed and said rather condescendingly, "I suppose I might read it when I'm in the mood for something light." I was rather surprised by the comment. It was absolutely delivered condescendingly, which is perhaps the not the best tactic for a small bookstore trying to keep customers. I was also kind of amused because there are a lot of things you can call The Hunger Games and "light reading" is simply not one of the things that comes to my mind.
If it had been my first trip to that bookstore, or if I had fewer qualms about where I purchased my book, I might not have come back. Oh, and that resolution didn't last so long. Even though I really cut down on my book purchasing, my bank account told me to go back online. I try to listen to my bank account.
Then there's the selection. A brick and mortar bookstore would have to be massive to be able to house all the books that are available with an online bookstore. Independent, or even chain bookstore, have limited space to display books. Their selection is not going to be as varied. Most bookstores offer a special-orders service and they can get in a book if you want it (and it's in print) but easily do that on my own computer with an online bookseller.
Shopping online is convenient. I like just about any kind of shopping that I can do at home in my pajamas. More than that I can hop online, put the books in my cart and they can be on their way to me in less than 10 minutes. I don't need to get dressed and walk or drive to the store and then try to find it it in the store, wait in line to pay and then come home. Yes, I realize that makes me sound really lazy but sometimes it's just a time thing.