Friday, June 17, 2016

Barnes and Noble vs. Amazon: A Book Shopper's Dilemma

             There's a new book coming out that you really want to read. Or maybe it is a book that's been out for a while and you just now have a little extra spending money to buy books with. The question is: do you walk into the nearest Barnes and Noble store and get it or do you buy it directly from Amazon? A few factors may play into your decision-making process...

1. Barnes and Noble's Store Inventory vs. Amazon's Vast Warehouse
I don't know about you but my nearest Barnes and Noble store in Appleton, Wisconsin doesn't have a great selection. Sure, if you want the new top-of-the-New-York-Times-Bestseller-List book by authors like Stephen King, Nora Roberts, or Danielle Steel you'll probably be able to find what you are looking for. But what about if you're looking for a newer or less well-known author or a book by an author the store doesn't stock often? You might not be able to find what you're looking for. 
Recently, I decided I wanted to get the last Rosemary Beach Novel, Up In Flames, by Abbi Glines that's coming out on June 28th. This was a no-brainer decision for me on the B&N vs. Amazon front. My local Barnes and Noble has had the same copy of "When You're Gone" by Abbi Glines on its shelf for the last 8 or so months. I'm not kidding... it is the same book! And that is the only Abbi Glines book they have in the entire store, even though at least three books by that author have come out since that book's release! So yeah, I'm pretty sure they won't have Up In Flames on their shelves come June 28th. 

2. Is the book you want by an Indie Author?
Since Barnes and Noble doesn't (in most cases) shelve print books by Indie Authors in their brick-and-mortar stores your options are reduced to: a) Have them ship it to the store (at no cost to you, but what if you don't live just around the corner from the nearest store?), b) Order it from their website and have it shipped to you, or c) order directly from Amazon.

As both an Indie Author and a fan of a lot of Indie Authors, it's really disappointing to me that I can't buy books by some of my favorite authors at my local Barnes and Noble. Sometimes you luck out and an indie author's local B&N will sell copies of their books in store; but really, how often do you find that you live in the same city as your favorite indie author? 

Barnes and Noble's website brings me to my next point...

3. Ordering from BarnesandNoble.com vs. Amazon.com
I've ordered books from Barnes and Noble's website for years. I've come to find that most of the time books sold online are priced lower than the in-store price, and that's on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble's website. But then you have to figure how quickly you'll get the book you want...
I have a Barnes and Noble member card so I'm entitled to free 1-3 day shipping. Amazon offers the same thing with Amazon Prime, but I don't have a Prime subscription. What I've noticed however is that I can order something from Barnes and Noble with my "free shipping" option which is supposed to arrive in 1-3 days after it is shipped out and still be waiting 7 days after my book has shipped. Amazon, on the other hand, gives you a longer timeline if you don't have the free shipping option but I've still gotten my order 2 or 3 days after I ordered! Why would you use the Express Shipping from Barnes and Noble when the Standard Shipping from Amazon gets it there quicker?!?!

4. Barnes and Noble Coupons can't be used on Online Preorder Orders
Yeah, I didn't realize that until recently either. Let's say you got a 20% off coupon in the mail for being a Barnes and Noble Member Card holder. There are restrictions on the back that exclude certain items in the store or online, one of which being preorders. 
Meanwhile, on Amazon, you may not get coupons for money off but they have a price guarantee when you preorder something that if the price lowers on or before the release date you'll get the item at the lowest price! 

I know some people feel strongly about Amazon or Barnes and Noble, either you love them or hate them. I've shopped at both over the years but I'm just finding that I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for sometimes when I go into an actual Barnes and Noble store which has driven up my online shopping on Amazon. I mean why drive 40 miles to the nearest Barnes and Noble looking for one specific book that you find out they don't have in stock after you've driven that distance? Isn't it just easier to save time and money and just order the book you want on Amazon and get it in a couple days? With the money you save you can always go over to your nearest Half Price Books and buy a bunch of older books you've been looking for at a lower price! It's a win-win!

What about you? Do you have a preference to shopping at Barnes and Noble stores or using Amazon's website? Let me know in the comments!

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