Monday, December 26, 2011

Post Christmas

The interesting thing about Christmas (and the other holidays at this time of year) is that bibliophiles always seem to get books (duh!) as gifts but that by the end of the holiday they have them all read or have decided it looked better in reviews than in actual fact or for some other reason have put it aside.

Now the long winter months stretch ahead of you with "nothing to read". I find this is the time to order old favorites and new possibilities online from my favorite used book stores. Many have sales and you can use the cheapest shipping options since the books can dribble in over the first weeks of January. You only need one at a time, after all!

Happy reading!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Paper books in the age of Kindle, Nook and the rest

I do not have an e-reader, so far by choice, though I do see the utility. Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth is much more convenient to lug around on an e-reader than its massive paper form.  My reason, so far valid, is that I still own so many paper books that I want to read that I don’t need to buy any, in any form. That said, I am sure I will eventually break down.
But that does not mean I will abandon paper books, ever. I am one of those people who enjoy the smell of the ink and paper and the heft of the paper in my hands and even the changing distribution of the weight as I read; the weight shifting from the right to the left. One other big reason – I am an eclectic reader. I like old stories as well as new ones. Many of the books I am interested in are not available in electronic format, and may not be in my lifetime.
And therein lies the rub for any reader. You find a new, to you, author and you want to read their earlier works. Or you want to re-read a book from your past. Or you get a recommendation from a friend for a book published before the advent of the e-reader. In all these cases the paper is often the only choice.
In this increasingly digital marketplace this means that used (“pre-read” or “pre-owned”) books take on a greater importance as they become the only option as even libraries reduce the amount of old paper books on their shelves.
I hope that many new horizons will open to you and that paper books will continue to be a part as I know they will for me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Free shipping - at a cost

This holiday season a vast number of people bought things online on sites touting "free shipping". That's all well and good, if it truly was "free".

My experience is that the Free Shipping moniker is often used as an attraction to customers who then actually spend more to get the same items as they would on the site that charges shipping. Face it, the costs to the seller are the same to ship it to you, whether or not they charge the buyer.

So either the seller accepts a smaller profit margin, the seller is getting its goods for less due to volume (like Amazon and Walmart versus mom & pop), or the seller is actually charging more for the original item or the accessories that you "have to have", etc.

I will sometimes pay for shipping because the total price is actually less. Or I will pay for shipping because I want to support a small business in preference to a big seller.

The bottom line is be careful and pay attention. Caveat Emptor.