Saturday, August 28, 2010

In Praise of Amazon.com

Yesterday, I went to a local bookstore with a list of three books I wanted, none of which is an obscure academic title. I am a fan of local bookstores and libraries and like to support them whenever possible. Increasingly, however, it seems impossible. The local bookstore I visited had only one of the three books I wanted in stock.

How much easier and more reliable it is to use Amazon.com. I don't have to leave the house. I can simply type in the titles I want (including out-of-print books), often with a nice discount on the price and free shipping, and the books show up in my mailbox within a week or so. Even when Amazon does not have a title I want in stock, the ordering process is much quicker and simpler than that of any local  bookseller.

So, then, what purpose does my local bookstore serve? Well, I can always go there to leaf through some cycling magazines while drinking a cup of coffee. Aside from that, the business model of physical bookstores seems to me as obsolete as the business model of the music industry.

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