Where do you buy your books? I’m not talking about ebooks, BOOKS.
I don’t shop at Costco. We don’t have a Books-A-Million. There’s a Barnes & Noble at a mall I visit about four times a year, but I don’t like the way B&N shelves their books. Everything is grouped together and ours seems to carry very little stock. I’ll rarely make the ten mile drive to Powells indie bookstore. (pictured above)
For my household, most of the books we bought in the last twelve months have come from Amazon. It’s simply the cheapest and most convenient for our needs. My husband is a big reader and constantly buys fiction or computer programming manuals. (Need a sleep aid? Try reading a forty pound software book.) I order the books my kids need for school and the books they simply are dying to read. If there is a hardback that I really want, I’ll order it from Amazon because they’re always discounted a large chunk. Dan swears it’s the cheapest place to add to his collection of 300 software manuals.
One of the main reasons I shop there is because we have Amazon Prime free two-day shipping. We easily utilize the $79 yearly cost for Amazon Prime. Especially around Christmas. Knowing I have Prime makes me look for other things through Amazon. I’ve bought shampoo, coffee, and printer ink. Saves me a trip to the store and it shows up in two days.
Surprisingly, in second place for where I buy my books is Target. That’s because I’m at Target at least once a month. I love Target. I picked up four books yesterday. Ours is clean and beautifully stocked in every department. And the checkout lines are always short! Target often marks down their paperbacks and hardbacks, and I make it a point to browse the two short aisles when I’m there. I love to see books by people I know. I always want to turn to the shopper next to me and say, “I know her.” Sadly it’s not a place to go to find anything off the top 100 list. It’s strictly an impulse buy section. If there is a specific book I want or I’m looking to pick up an author’s entire backlist, I check Amazon first.
Powells is amazing for an independent book store, but I find it to be a bit overwhelming. Their Portland flagship store takes up a city block and is several stories tall. Their website boasts 68,000 packed square feet of books and 3500 subsections of books. When my daughter was four, my mother took her to Toys R Us for the first time. They had to leave because my daughter was overwhelmed and got a headache. That’s how I feel at Powells. But I know several people who love this store, and others who place it on their “must visit” list every time they come to Portland.
Convenience, cost, selection. These factors drive where I make my purchases. I have to put convenience first because I’m notoriously lazy. I miss a good book store. Maybe I should rephrase that as I miss our Borders. The one we had was close, well organized, and always packed full of stock. I could count on finding backlist books there.
Where do you like to buy your books? And does anyone else miss Borders the way I do?