Saturday, January 24, 2009

Also, a new policy

That package I had to pick up from the Post Office was from Amazon, containing four more books for my big pile, two of which I intend to read by the end of February (along with "Twenty Years After" and the next volume of "Pathfinder").

Just before Christmas, I visited Borders and picked up a couple of books. While there, I was given a voucher for my next visit, entitling me to 15% of my purchases. Fantastic, I thought.

However, when ordering from Amazon, I found that they had a 20%+ discount on just about everything in their stock, and had that permanently, without the need for a voucher. Since I very rarely need to buy a book for immediate reading, it's pretty clear where my business will be going in future. (It's unfortunate, since I do quite like visiting bricks-and-mortar bookstores. But I'm not willing to pay £8 for a paperback, on average, for the privilege.)

And, of course, that's about par for the course when ordering online. Things are just routinely cheaper, and at least as good. And so, my new policy, motivated purely by financial reasons: I shall no longer visit stores, and instead purchase online. Four exceptions: 1) My weekly shop will still be in a 'real' store. I buy quite a lot of fresh fruit and veg, and am unconvinced that they will do as good a job of selecting them. 2) Game books will still be bought from my Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS). That's one store I really don't want to see go, and am willing to pay a premium to that end. (If he does close anyway, then it's the internet for me.) 3) If I'm buying something that does require specialist advice, and I can't get that advice online (perhaps because there's an intersection between the specialist and personal taste, as with beds), then it will need to be a 'real' store. 4) On those rare occasions when I'm buying clothes, that will still be done in a 'real' store. Again, this is an area where I like to see exactly what I'm getting in advance.

Oh, and note: the policy is that I won't visit stores, not merely that I won't buy things there. Partly because I don't want to waste their time, but mostly to avoid impulse-buys.

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