Friday, 27 April 2012

How we buy books


As I was drying my hair this morning I was thinking about the way in which you might buy books as it's something that's increasingly becoming a moral conundrum for me. I think the greatest potential loss to our high street, were they to cease to exist, would be bookshops. Several years ago when Amazon first became a feature in our lives, I bought the majority of my books from them unthinkingly, delighted by the fantastic prices. However, in more recent years I've started to increasingly feel uncomfortable about this: I want to support local bookshops now, rather than wishing I had once they've all been forced into closure. The moral dilemma comes over how best to do this.


I've gradually worked out a sort of system in my head that feels like an acceptable compromise for the most part. My children buy the vast majority of their books from Waterstones as I think the experience of picking books by hand; reading the blurb on the back; seeing the print within the books; feeling the texture of the pages, is all an essential part of childhood and building a life-long love of reading and books that can't be replicated by any of the wonders that technology has to offer or by having the books arrive anonymously on your doorstep. Additionally, it's only since having children that I've appreciated that book sellers are just as amazing at pointing me to a perfect book or providing an on-the-spot review as Amazon can be. Both in our local branch and all the others we've visited around the country, when I've said to a book seller: we're looking for this type of book, for this type of reading ability and it must include insert-random-current-obsession, they amaze me every time by leading us to a perfect offering and describing the intricacies of the characters or writing style with a knowledge and passion which makes me believe they must read every book.


Because children's books require more internal browsing than adults', if I'm shopping alone for them I'll also tend to make a bee-line for Waterstones and once I've used them as a research resource it doesn't feel right not to buy from them, so I'll buy paperbacks and picture books from the shop, but if I've spotted a particularly amazing looking hardback that's over £20 that I'd love to buy for them then I'll guiltily make a note of the title, as those are the times when it feels too much to shoulder the price discrepancy between the high-street and Amazon, which can be as much as £15 difference.


Many of my own books I buy from Amazon - simply because it feels quick and easy and my local branch of Waterstones didn't used to stock a great variety of specialist sewing books (although that's increasingly not the case as sewing has surged in popularity). I frequently buy cookbooks in the shop because I like to browse through them before I buy, which brings me to why I was thinking on this as I dried my hair this morning.


I'd mentioned the Primrose Cupcakes cookbook in my last post and after reading some of your feedback I decided that I'd love to buy a copy. I went to the Waterstones website where it was reduced from £14.99 to £9.49 with free postage and rang to reserve a copy at my local branch. However, when I double-checked the price I realised that Waterstones online undercut their own shops, meaning that to buy the book in the shop would mean paying full price. Having spoken to a real, live, very helpful book seller by that point, who'd already gone to check the shelf for me, I decided on this occasion the moral obligation was to buy the book from the shop and lose the £5.49...but it made me wonder at what point your own cut-off may be? I wondered if you'd agree with this or whether I'm being over-empathetic to the bookseller's plight. What lengths do you go to to support your own high-street and where do draw the line? Does it bear any relation to income? For me, despite our change in circumstances with my husband setting up his own business over the last year, I don't feel I can abandon the high street booksellers; I feel I should simply buy less books so that I can continue to support them in the ways that I've described above.

Equally, even though I want them to continue, I'm also aware that a big chain like Waterstones isn't symbolic of all that is good and right with booksellers and that their sales practises often put publishers and authors under pressure, however, they are still the only option on my own high street, which is devoid of independent sellers. I wish that we had a local version of South-east London's Tales on Moon Lane or London's Daunt Books.

What do you think? I'd love to hear how you shop? Whether you think we do have a moral obligation to subsidise the high street in order to retain it or if you have a favourite book shop and what makes it special. Or whether Amazon has its own magical appeal for you, as it does to me to a certain extent, in the sheer vastness of its stock.

Florence x

53 comments:

  1. Well, I certainly think you've got more morals on me on this one, though I'm not sure how much it classes as morals with Waterstones as they are a big chain with an internet division. I buy craftbooks online, they're so much cheaper and the selection in bookshops is tiny. As for novels, I buy them ALL from charity shops. I certainly can't afford £7 - £10 for a novel so I never buy them new. I buy them new for presents for people, but it's Amazon again. My budget is just far too tight to splash out on full price books. Sad, but true.

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    1. I agree - I think that's why I buy my own novels online, as they do feel very expensive, whereas children's books tend to be a more affordable £4.99 still - it's only a few pounds, but it feels like a big difference.

      I'm really sorry - I hadn't meant to imply superior morals by the way - more trying to understand what the general sense of duty is, but I worded it poorly. x

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  2. I am a huge Independent book customer whenever I can. I am very fortunate I have one in my area and go to their bookclub. The shop has become part of my family. My grandkids love going they have an adorable children's section, like "You got Mail". When I go on holiday I seek out independent book stores. I also love libraries.

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    1. Oh lucky you - I think things like that are fantastic for creating a sense of community, aren't they - how lovely.

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  3. Hmm, it's funny, I buy all my sewing and craft related books from Amazon, but when it comes to fiction I have to buy in store so that I can read the back and maybe have a quick flip through, somehow it's not the same reading the blurb online!

    We had a fabulous Borders in the centre of Glasgow and it was always packed with people, so I was devastated when it closed (not least because it was just round the corner from my office!) I think what happened with them was that in too many towns they had opened in retail parks and the like, where people aren't really inclined to go and buy books - if I'm clothes shopping, or electrical goods shopping, the last thing that occurs to me is to nip into another shop and buy a book, and unfortunately the one in Preston near where my mum and dad live, and the one that they opened at one of the retail parks in Glasgow, bore out that kind of thinking as there weren't ever many shoppers when I went into them.

    Our 2 city centre Waterstones are now experiencing a revival, although the big one is quite a hike from the office, so I only do it a few times a year and buy in bulk (usually with Christmas/birthday book tokens)

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    1. Oh, I used to love the Borders on Tottenham Court Road - it always seemed so big and full of promise!

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  4. Yes, I've been mentally debating this too, since a friend on Facebook linked to this article: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2012/04/amazon-under-fire-the-book-behemoth-is-scrutinized.html . Think I might have to write my own blog post to reply to you properly, though!

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    1. Gosh, how very Big Brother - thank you for the link, Nina. Will look forward to your post. x

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  5. Hmm - tricky one. I have to admit to simply being lazy and a Scrooge. It is just too easy to order, pay the minimum amount and take delivery in the comfort of my own home. I am possibly morally lacking....

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    1. I'm sure not morally lacking at all - everyone has their own things that feel more or less important to them to take a stand about, don't they. I feel I sit on the fence with this one and am guilty of not doing more when I feel I should...but it's just too expensive to go the whole way.

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  6. I feel similarly, although not I must say about Waterstones! We are lucky to have a fantastic independent bookshop in our town which I try to support at least part of the time but I must also admit to frequenting Amazon. Often I buy secondhand from the other sellers there. There are few things more wonderful than browsing in a good bookshop though so it would be awful if they all went.

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    1. Yes, I love the second-hand sellers - I still dont' understand how they make a profit selling something for a penny + postage though....

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  7. This is something I often puzzle over, as I'm pretty addicted to buying books! I used to buy all of my fiction from Waterstones 3 for 2 and Amazon. Then so many libraries started to close, and as I used to use libraries all the time, I felt horribly guilty. So now I buy all of my fiction from charity and second-hand bookshops, and visit the library for more fiction and craft and cooking books around once a fortnight. The selection at my library is tiny, though, so I still have to buy much of my non-fiction titles online.

    Not perfect by any means but better than I was. Interesting topic though, thanks for the food for thought!

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    1. My library's selection feels limited too...although recently I've started making more requests for them to order things in. The problem comes when I forget to return them and have a fine to pay that means it wouldn't have been much more expensive just to buy the book to begin with!

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  8. Such a good post. I struggle too, especially now that I have an ereader. We also browse at our local children's bookstore. But my budget is tight and I too often buy my own books from them.

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    1. Have you found your e-reader is a replacement for books? I borrowed one and although I loved how portable it was, it just didn't feel entirely right not to be able to see and feel where I was up to in the book - the percentage line didn't feel the same.

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  9. This is something I've struggled with too. My local independent bookshop recently closed down but I just don't feel so warm and fluffy towards the Big W. I don't know why, but scrapping the 3 for 2 has a lot to do with it.

    These days, I find I shop for my fiction in the Oxfam bookshop (I'm lucky enough to have two very near to my home) and shop online for non-fiction.

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    1. That's a good idea - I don't tend to think of charity shops for books, even though I often buy them second-hand online.

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  10. I love books, I love bookshops, I love shopping. So how do we buy our books? I have 5,4 and 1 year old girls. For the older 2 whos appetite for books exceeds our pockets I go to Much Wenlock second hand book shop which is a little haven and I can buy from here almost every book you would find in Waterstones for anything between 20p and £1. They really are excellent. For me I also use this book shops for older curious looking books on craft (any type I've had some amazingly beautiful calligraphy books from here) and old retro cook books. We don't really have a high street in our town just a collection of smaller village type shopping clusters that you could never use for proper shopping more nipping into shops but none with a good book shop. We have a huge lifeless shopping centre that sucks the life force from you. In there is a tiny Waterstones and a magazine based WHSmith both are equally frustrating for book shopping.For the baby I'm afraid I use ASDA or the like as she stills chews and shreds books at a rate I can't keep up with. So for me its Amazon or little second hand shops.

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    1. Goodness, that sounds like an amazing bookshop!

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  11. Your post reflects many of my own musings on the subject, but lately for me it has also come to cover ebooks (I have become a Kindle owner) and also supporting my local library. I also live in a city rich in charity shops and secondhand bookshops as well as 2 Waterstones and an independent bookshop. So, to make my choices I have to go with the book in question, am I looking for an emergency read (I can't be with out something to read, if I'm not crafting, I'm reading, I'm even reading if I'm having a bath)? Charity shop or library. Am I wanting to try a new author? The library. Am I likely to lend it to my sisters because I know they will love it too? Needs to be a physical book. Am I going on holiday? Stock up the Kindle, it has transformed my holiday packing no end. Gift? Then I tend to order through the Waterstones website as they will post straight to the recipient and I don't live near my family so this is very useful.
    It seems I read enough to keep every form of book buying/reading going ;-)

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    1. Yes, not being able to lend a book is a real stumbling block of the e-reader and another of the reasons why I didn't warm to it when I borrowed one.

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  12. You remind me how lucky we are around here, not only Tales on Moon Lane, but Chener books, The Village Bookshop and review are independents within walking distance, all with great staff and great, completely differing selections of books. Obviously there are enough people still buying from indies to keep four of them going around here, but I realise this is unusual. And I confess there are still a lot of amazon parcels arriving at our house.

    My decision making process is much the same as yours, and since we buy books rather than go to the library (I am rubbish at returning them) I feel we are paying in part for the experience and the activity of bookshopping, as much as for the book. I'm also quite fond of the idea of paying the author for their work, something that can get overlooked in the book price war conversation.

    Interestingly I am more fond of Waterstones now than I have been over the past few years, precisely because they scrapped the 3 for 2. Since publishers had to pay to be a part of this promotion, you were served only a very small pool of authors deemed to be worthy of the marketing budget, and I hate being dictated to this way. I have always loved their personal recommendations shelves, and found some great things through them.

    My last thought is that you just can't beat browsing through a proper bookshop for discovering something new. I can still remember the moment I first clapped eyes on a David Mitchell novel in a Waterstones near Farringdon in 2001...

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    1. Oh Joanne, you lucky, lucky bean. I didn't realise you had all those so locally. We may have to come visiting when we make a pilgrimage to them! x

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  13. I totally agree with you that we need to keep local book shops going. One of my best sources for books is a local second-hand bookshop and sometimes I am very lucky there. For example, i needed a copy of Twelfth Night for tutoring and there was a pristine copy for only £3.00. Clearly, the student who bought it never read it! There is also a lovely independent bookshop up near Wimbledon Common which i try to use when I am up there. The problem is trying to find something specific and get it quickly and that's when I use Amazon. Waterstones is good in a pinch, but I can't always find what I want there either. It's good for teaching materials, though. Things like York notes, etc.

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    1. Yes, I think being able to track down the most obscure things is one of the reasons why Amazon is so appealing...

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  14. To be honest, I would be lost now without Amazon. I love that someone can recommend a book and it's nearly always there - the stock is vast, in a way an actual bookshop just can't compete with. However, I am also worried at how many bookshops are closing down and love to browse and shop in them when I get a chance, so I do try to support them too, especially independent ones. I think you are more likely to discover new authors whilst browsing in an actual shop. I also started using our local library more last year, as I really wanted to support that service too. Sadly we don't have any bookshops at all in my town now - Waterstones closed down last year - which also means I buy more on Amazon than I ought to. Having read this post though, I'm determined to wait and buy the Primrose Bakery book from a bookshop rather than Amazon!

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    1. Oh no, no library and no bookshop - that shouldn't be allowed, should it! No wonder you make good use of Amazon.

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  15. I have the same debate as you. My nearest bookshop used to be a Borders that had a small coffee shop and was open until 10pm as it was on a retail park. Me and my boyfriend regularly used to go after work for a mooch around and a coffee. We bought a few books but were also guilty of ordering the more expensive items from Amazon. It closed a couple of years ago and I still miss going there now.
    Since it closed, I do tend to buy most of my books from Amazon now. However, we go up to the Lake District for holidays a couple of times a year & there is a great independent bookshop in Grasmere that I always try to support by buying a couple of books. It would be a terrible shame if book shops disappear from the high street. I find them very peaceful and calm places and I've spent many happy hours browsing the shelves.

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    1. That's lovely to have the same bookshop that you return to on holidays - you must now associate holidays with new books as well as walking and hills.

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  16. I've been thinking about this recently too. I usually use Waterstones, as it's the only bookshop in town. I love the prices at Amazon, but as someone who dreamed of running a bookshop as a child, I don't like spending too much. I do really love visiting Foyles when I'm in Central London.
    My Kindle is another issue - I can get brilliant books really cheaply - but I probably would've bought the "real" one if not for the Kindle...

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    1. Oh yes, Foyles is wonderful - I've been promising my daughter a trip there as we've never visited their children's department.

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  17. James Daunt of Daunt books owns Waterstone's, so ultimately the money all goes to the same hands with regards to that...

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    1. Really, I didn't know that - how interesting. Although, I'm not sure it's all about whose pockets I'm lining, more just wanting to retain a presence - any presence - of a bookseller on my local high street. In a great many ways I think Waterstones is lovely.

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  18. Wonderful post! Really resonates.

    There's also a great piece in the New York Times that touches on this subject. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/the-reading-renaissance/

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  19. Ahh we don't have any local bookshops in my town (not sure if we ever have) and being on the doorstep of the city we have a Waterstones not too far away. Still most of my books come from Amazon or the supermarket simply because the age of my children means I never get time to shop. And I mean never - the rare occasions I go into the city shops have disappeared and new ones appeared in their place.

    So I do not feel guilty at all as no one would get my business otherwise! In an ideal world I would browse lovely, local bookshops with a drink in one hand. And I would attend lovely readings there and maybe a book club. And I would read every night and not just sink into an exhausted stupor. Maybe one day :)

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    1. Well goodness...I feel exhausted for you! Yes, one day that will come...although my children are older and I don't think I've quite reached it yet.

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  20. One argument I have heard (I think this comes from the pundit Matthew Yglesias, who writes for Slate in the US) is that Amazon is a force for good because its low prices mean that people buy more books! I find that argument pretty persuasive, actually, and as a writer (though not a book author...yet?) it does seem like a benefit for my kind. (I believe that at least for print books, a writer would get the same royalties whether the copy was sold through Amazon or a brick & mortar bookseller.) So that all seems great!

    But, I also have this sense that bookstore employees are probably treated better than Amazon warehouse employees, so that's a strike against Amazon. And I do think that we would lose something valuable from the urban grain if local bookshops disappeared. It will be interesting to see how and whether these gathering places evolve as ebooks, as well as Amazon shopping, become more prevalent. I don't think there will ever be an e-substitute for a well designed craft reference book or cookbook, though.

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    1. Yes, I agree - the real thing is fairly irreplaceable for those things.

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  21. We make a point of buying books from the local independent bookstore in the nearest town to us - they have such a special, careful selection that it is worth the money. I don't feel like I need to support wars tones though, there's one across the street from where I work and I do tend to browse their and then look online. Most of my online purchases are used books though - they are cheaper than a cup of coffee and I'm not precious about the condition of the book.

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  22. This is an issue really close to my heart! I've had a very similar kind of epiphany as you regarding Amazon. I do love it, and I often order gifts or specific books from there, but if I fancy a browse or want to take the boys to choose a book, it's Waterstones every time. I have started making a real effort with fabric, books and other things that I like to browse in real life, to buy them from bricks and mortar stores.

    We used to have an amazing eco-bookshop in our town which I bought the odd book from, and a friend and I were discussing how fabulous it was. I was appalled when she finished the discussion with, "and when I've finished browsing, I go and order the books from Amazon!" with a bright smile on her face. Needless to say, she was the first to complain when it went out of business a couple of years ago.

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  23. I have had some qualms with Amazon just being so huge and not paying any UK tax on sales here. So have now adopted a use it or loose it mentality. I use a fabulous small independent bookshop in Barnes that can order in any book for the next day and they have an extensive children's section. It may cost a little more, but keeping these brilliant small shops on our high street is important, I also love to see a book before I buy - unless I have read some good reviews.

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  24. You just know, that having been a bookseller in an independent bookshop, that I'd have to weigh in on this. And from the off, let me say that even with a staff discount, it's financial madness not to buy hardback reference books (craft, cooking etc) from the big A. Very hard to compete with discounting that deep.

    Independent bookshops know this. There is nothing they can do about it. But they can fight back with so so so much more. Helping to select a present for a specific person, books of local interest, signed copies and author events, advice for children (especially reluctant readers), book groups - it goes on and on.

    Whenever we travel, I seek out independent bookshops and buy something there as a souvenir of sorts. Because I'd be so sad to see the day when there were none left.

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  25. I havent read through all the comments so not sure if it's been said already but there are a couple of issues with Amazon which put them in the same rapacious bracket as Tesco and similar ..

    1) they demand such huge discounts from book wholesalers that the authors of books dont get much royalty, certainly, not the royalty they deserve. This is because publishers (deliberatly) put in contracts that the author gets a xx% royalty on the 'sale price' of the book - ie: what the book is sold for, not what the book is worth or what the cover price is. So if Amazon get 50% discount on that title from the wholesaler, then the author gets 50% of the royalty they would have got had the book been sold at the undiscounted price. If they were only getting 7% royalty on say £10, then you can see the problem ...

    2) These ridiculously high discounts that Amazon demand in order to sell 'cheap' books, means that often independant publishers dont get a look in. It is simply not worth their while to sell to Amazon, it means they have to work for free, so they just dont. This obviously limits their visibility quite alot which is a sad side effect, but true. Occasionaly, if there is a lot of demand for a particular topic, then Amazon will pay the full price to the (independant) publisher but they (the independants) really have to fight for it.

    3) The company Amazon is set up in such a way that it exploits a corporation tax loophole. ie, they don't pay corporation tax. If Amazon had to pay it's corporation tax, it would not be able to offer such cheap titles. Someone has to pay and if it's not the authors with their reduced royalties, then it's us - the taxpayer - who pays becuase of increased taxes/decreased benefits, whatever, to help make up the shortfall in government revenue. On the one hand you can't blame them for exploiting a loop hole which shouldnt be there, but on the other, knowing the 'cons' of shopping with Amazon, makes their products a whole lot less tempting.

    Its a very very difficult conundrum Florence. On the one hand, beautiful books are expensive, and so it is tempting for people to pay less by using Amazon and the like. This is made more difficult with our culture/society having such a sense of rights and entitlement to cheap everything, and a 'want' not 'need' mentality - on top of the current economical climate where times are hard for most of us. It is a question of evaluating true value and perhaps making more use of our birthday and Christmas lists ..? After all, how many of these glossy 'must have' books do you then see on the shelves of charity shops, and second hand book stalls? I've lost count of the number of 'Jamie Olivers' and similar I've seen in such places, once the must have series, but actually, once you've seen past the nice pictures, not really that good.

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  26. We're very lucky as we have the lovely Chepstow bookshop here, just a short walk away (though a long walk up a vertical incline to get home!). I feel really strongly about supporting local, and especially independent bookshops, as how sad a place would the average high street be if they all disappeared. I worked for a few years in Waterstone's, mainly in the children's department, and so enjoyed helping people to choose the perfect book! Amazon is fantastic, and I do shop regularly there, but I'll still continue to use my local bookshop.

    One dilemma is buying a gift for someone, knowing it might have cost £20 but worrying they might think they were only worth the fiver that same book costs on amazon!

    Ah, but I do miss my 33 per cent staff discount.

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  27. This is a difficult one for me as I'm not impressed with the majority of large bookshops like Waterstones. I tend to buy most of my fiction from Amazon (although I get a lot of free books via bookcrossing friends.) My big gripe with the big high street chains like Waterstones are: Much more expensive. I don't want to pay £5.49 more just to support Waterstones, it's not like the authors are getting paid any more just because I'm paying a chain more. I want value for money!! I can get books more easily by shopping on Amazon as they're delivered to my door and I can make the purchase 24 hours a day not have to wait until I have time to get to a book shop. Choice is another big factor. Most Waterstones for example have a tiny section of sewing books. I also don't like the big stores because of their habit of piling books sky high. I am quite short. If I'm in a book shop I want to be able to pick a book up and browse, not find that the book I want to look at is three shelves out of reach. I do however, feel sorry for the small independent booksellers that really know their stuff and stock a great selection of titles and don't just pander to the fads and top 10 titles. I'm more likely to purchase a book there despite the cost because if I like and it's in my hand temptation would be too much!

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  28. Living in a market town on the edge of the Peaks means my nearest Waterstones is 40 minutes away so I only tend to shop there when I am in the city already although I do buy from them online.

    I'll be honest here and admit that often my first port of call is the amazing bank of local charity shops here in my town; we have a brilliant Oxfam Bookshop and so I usually head there first for a new read. That being said our local independent bookseller is very good and I have bought 4 or 5 titles from them since Christmas and probably buy from them once a month or so on average.

    My problem is this: budgetary constraints. I rip through books like nobody's business and if I were to buy my three books per week or so at full price from my local book shop I'd be spending just shy of £100 per month solely on books. I have to mix it up a little in order to afford the habit! ;-) I will always buy from a bricks and mortar bookshop when I have a little extra cash kicking around but when I'm severely cash strapped I do opt for charity shops, second hand bookshops and Amazon. I also dust off the library card every now and then!

    Jem xXx

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  29. I deal with the same internal conflict with not only books, but also fabric purchases and tend to "divide and conquer" as well. The thought of losing the knowledge and shared passion of my local book seller or quilt shop owner in untenable. You outlined the book price comparison. Similarly, always paying $12 a yard locally when I know that I can buy the same fabric for less than $8 from fabric.com is fiscally irresponsible. So I share my dollars. I just don't know any better way.

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  30. Here in Germany we have fixed prices for books, so I buy all my books in german from one of out two local independent bookshops. I must admit I have been tempted to order them at Amazon and have them delivered at my doorstep instead of going into town, but usually I withstand. When I want English craft books or novels, I usually ask at my bookshop how long it will take and then decide wether I can wait or not. In my opinion, a independent bookshop is one of the most important features of a town, and we all should try to support them so we dont have to say one day "Now we don´t even have a bookshop here in town!".

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  31. I'll be honest and say I usually use the library. Quite often a book that I want is only a week or two's wait away, and although I often end up with fines because I hang on to them too long I'm very happy to pay them - libraries have saved me a fortune over the years and if I can afford to support them, I'm happy.

    I like second-hand bookshops, although they don't support the writer, but they're struggling themselves because of the sheer volume of charity bookshops cropping up.

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  32. Locally we have a couple of secondhand bookstores, a $1 bookstore and a Barnes & Noble. I rarely buy online (only some of the penguin classics, like you have pictured, as I already knew the story) as I usually like to skim a few pages before buying. Since Borders (and their 40% off coupons) closed, I mainly buy secondhand or from the $1 bookstore. I usually only buy gift books new.

    I don't know if that would be different if we had an independent new book seller nearby. A big part of it is the price, though. While I don't believe that I would ever want an e-reader and do want to books to survive, I would have a hard time justifying the amount that I would be spending on books if I paid full price (I read quite a bit).

    In my ideal world, they would be lowering the price of books (and thereby increasing the demand, especially mine).

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  33. Sadly not living in the UK the only affordable and reliable way to buy English language texts is to buy online and thank our luckies that Amazon now offer free postage across the EU on orders over a certain amount. Back in my home town, the only independent store closed about 3 years ago and I've never been overly impressed with Waterstones. I find that the local WH Smith has a better choice of books for children, or maybe they're just arranged in a more accessible manner for small people? I'm not sure. We recycle a lot of books through our small international community here, we have an english language book club which really functions more as a lending library and a good excuse for tea and cakes! That's surely got to be the best way to access books; a personal recommendation from a friend whilst enjoying a cuppa and a slice of lemon drizzle cake!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x