Saturday, May 2, 2009

Due to some confusion evidenced by the general populace, here I will provide the difference between an independent bookstore, Borders Books, and

If you want to buy a cheap book on hearsay, or because you need it for something and don't want to pay full price, buy it from Amazon.

If you need an obscure heaving-bosoms-and-Fabio-on-the-cover romance novel that no one has ever heard of RIGHT NOW, look for it at Border's.

If you're not sure what you want to read and want a recommendation tailored to your mood and reading tastes, get it from an indie bookstore.

If you want an honest opinion of a book, given by well-read real people, ask someone at an indie bookstore.

If you need a gift for someone but you have no idea what they like, go to an indie bookstore.

If you're curious about what's going on in the neighborhood, including the sordid details of various peoples' love lives, sit in a quiet spot in your local bookstore and pretend like you're not paying attention.

In short, Amazon has:
  • low prices
  • direct-to-home shipping
  • the advantage of never having to leave your cave
Borders has:
  • occasional low prices
  • a vast inventory
  • Seattle's Best coffee
  • a frequent buyer program
Independents have:
  • knowledgeable staff who can (and do) read
  • community programs like author readings and activities
  • direct-to-home shipping (usually)
  • a frequent buyer program
  • inventory that is personally selected to include the best books from each genre
  • the ability to special order a book and have it within 2-4 days
  • cards, gift items, and novelties that are much classier than what you will find at Borders
  • charm
  • knowledge about the place you live and the services offered there
  • general awesomeness

Also, guess what: Powell's Books, the largest independent bookstore in the country, offers pretty much the same benefits that Amazon does.


Alex said...

Great post, but technically Borders has Seattle's Best Coffee, B&N has Starbucks.

But then again Starbucks owns Seattle's best, so maybe the distinction is moot.

A Million Words said...

Haha thanks! Mistake has been corrected. I guess that shows how often I've been in Borders lately. (I used to spend a lot of time there before I became enlightened. ; ))