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Local Bookshops – v – Amazon

July 31, 2013

Yes, it’s another of those articles where I conclude (as millions have before me) that Amazon is alas the way forward.

There aren’t any bookshops local to me, but a mere 20 minute tube journey and there are three. One specialist in psychology books for the local training centre, a tiny independent that clings on with local authors and a clientele that can afford to support it, and a Waterstones.

Being a Monday, I had fresh in mind the Sunday Times book reviews, and a note of three that looked interesting. With a little time to kill before an appointment, I stopped into Waterstones. Now, first, I have to say that this shop is immaculately kept, and the staff are mostly the highly educated type who form the backbone of the book trade. Either lifelong dedicates, or more likely young people who studied something impressive at University and are now waiting for their tutors / staff at the national museums to die so that they can inherit their careers. Whatever, they’re good.

Still, I left empty-handed that day. Not a single copy of a single book in stock. Worse, they used to have a computer that the public could use to check for stock. That was broken for several months, and is now gone.

A week went past, and I thought I’d try again. This time, I found the advantage of the book shop… one of the books I was interested in was in stock… and a quick glance proved the online reviews over the Sunday Times one in my mind. Unreadable wasn’t in it. Saved me £14.99. So, score one for Waterstones.

Of the remaining two books, one remained out of stock. The other was on the shelf… at full price. Now, as a published author myself, I get 10% off at Waterstones, but £1.69 off £16.99 isn’t much. Sadly, the book looked great, but not at that price.

You can guess the rest. Amazon had both books, and £8.49 beats £15.30 any time. In fact, I got both books for under £12 in total.

Yes, I know I’ve probably just killed another book shop, and I’ll miss browsing and the odd bargain in the sale – and also being able to pick up a quick gift and a good chat with the staff…

… but as with theatre tickets, alas sometimes it’s cold cash that wins. Oh well.


And on that note, I’m off for the summer, see you in September.

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