My wanderings tonight brought me to consider the fate of bookstores. I ended up at a local Barnes and Nobles and managed to find quite a few books I was interested in. Particularly, three books on varying aspects of computer programming. The books ranged from $35 to $45 and no doubt would have tax added to them costing me over $120 had I bought them at the store.
When I returned home, I searched on Amazon.com for the same three books. Sure enough, one was $18. one was $4.00 and one was actually $0.01. Each one was coming from a different Amazon affiliate so they each cost $3.99 for shipping. The total of my order was $33.98 which was less than the cost of the cheaper book alone at the bookstore.
With deals like this, there’s few arguments I can make for patronizing local shops. If they don’t conform their pricing structures, I don’t see how it’s beneficial for them to remain open which brings up a personal conflict. I love bookstores!
I enjoy having the ability to pick up new books and peruse them. When purchasing books (with the exception of fiction) it’s critical that the book contain the information I’m looking for and be written in a manner that I can understand and follow. When introducing myself to a new language or technology, It’s good to know if the book is geared towards the beginner or an expert. Sometimes I’ll even read a chapter or two to see if I like the way the author(s) presents the materials. While there’s some provisions to accomplish this online, nothing beats the real thing.
Could bookstores such as Barnes and Noble survive if they cut their in-store prices? Perhaps one solution would be for publishers to send out more new books to public libraries so that people can sample them prior to making any purchases, but would this help sales or hinder them as the book would be “rented” for free.
I’m a big fan of technology, but in addition to the great privileges we get from innovation, there is also a cost associated with advancement.