Wednesday, December 21, 2011

YA Highway: Road Trip Wednesday #4

 Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This Week's Topic:
Where do you buy most of your books? No one is judging!

The "A" Word

Independent bookstores are an endangered species.  Even mega-chains like Borders are closing down. But I have to confess: when I buy a book, I don’t do the responsible thing and support my local independent bookstore. I go to Amazon, and I judge myself for it.

Amazon first hooked me when they offered me free Prime shipping for a year. You can get anything delivered to you, within two days, with no charge. Instant gratification junkie that I am, I started buying everything from juice boxes to vinyl records.  But most of all, I bought books.

That isn’t to say that my main source for books is Amazon. I’d say about ¾ of the books I read come from my public library, often through inter-library loan from another library in our consortium. If I bought every book that was read in my household, I’d go bankrupt.

I’m a fan of used bookstores and library book sales, and try to hit them up when I can. But when I want something specific, it’s just so easy to head to Amazon and know that it will be on my doorstep in two days.

Lately, I’ve been buying books via Kindle for PC. I thought I’d never get into reading books that weren’t on paper, but the instant gratification lured me in.  I’m buying more books than ever before.

It goes against my principles, but I’m hooked on Amazon. It’s like smoking or fast food: I know it’s bad for me and the world at large, but I enjoy it too much to quit.


  1. And more people benefit from reading than from smoking or eating fast food. Sure, Amazon is not a good thing for everyone, but books, stories, novels, literature in some form is here to stay. If not via Amazon, people will be getting their stories somehow. And that's not a bad thing.

  2. Amazon doesn't understand me. Their recommendations are all for the same thing. I've given up even reading them.

  3. @Colin: you're right, I do get a bit extreme here about Amazon.

    @angelhorn: Haha. Sometimes I follow the recommendations through chains of associations. I'll click on one recommendation, and then see the recommended titles associated with that book, etc. It's fascinating to see how Amazon "thinks"--but I don't often find a book I want to read through the recs.

  4. Let me know if you find the recipe against fast food and smoking.
    For amazon, I stand by it. Since I´m back in Germany it´s a great way to get books in English or in French. I still go to other places but I don´t have the time to roam through bookstores as much as I´d like...

  5. I don't think I'd want to live in the hypothetical world of infinite virtue without fast food, smoking and Amazon. I just like to wring my hands about it all!

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  7. Man, I got free Amazon Prime for six months a few weeks ago, and I have to say, it is CHOICE. Whatever will I do in five months?? I live in a town that is pretty densely populated but that has exactly ZERO book stores, which is sad-making. But like movie rental places, there doesn't seem to be much point in them anymore -- especially since I don't particularly like a "personalized" shopping experience with friendly, knowledgeable sales-people; I prefer the anonymity of shopping at Book-Mart!! But I DO like the big chain bookstore/cafe model, and maybe that's something that can be viable for a small bookstore (although I guess it wasn't that viable for the big ones). They can cut down on overhead by just using pictures of bookshelves instead of real ones.

    I get most of my books at the library, too, and support my library by consistently paying fines on my overdue books.

  8. If you're like me, you'll pay the 70 odd dollars to continue Prime, because it is addictive.

    The only thing I need from a bookstore is that they have what I want, when I want it (god, I sound like Veruca Salt or something). There really aren't any brick and mortar bookstores that can do that like Amazon.

    It feels wrong that there are places where there are no bookstores. But as long as they still have libraries, I think civilization is safe.

    And speaking of library fines, spending 4 years in Gainesville, the only library in the country that doesn't charge overdue fines, has ruined me for life. I was always paying overdue fines before I lived there, but now it's out of control.

    Some librarians actually get mad at patrons for being late returning books, which I can't wrap my head around.