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    Compared with online retailers, bookstores present a frustrating consumer experience. A physical store—whether it’s your favorite indie or the humongous Barnes & Noble at the mall offers a relatively paltry selection, no customer reviews, no reliable way to find what you’re looking for, and a dubious recommendations engine. Amazon suggests books based on others you’ve read; your local store recommends what the employees like. If you don’t choose your movies based on what the guy at the box office recommends, why would you choose your books that way?

    In the past, bookstores did have one clear advantage over online retailers—you could read any book before you purchased it. But in the e-book age that advantage has slipped away. Amazon and Barnes & Noble let you sample the first chapter of every digital title they carry, and you can do so without leaving your couch.

    It’s not just that bookstores are difficult to use. They’re economically inefficient, too. Rent, utilities, and a brigade of book-reading workers aren’t cheap, so the only way for bookstores to stay afloat is to sell items at a huge markup. A few times a year, my wife—an unreformed local-bookstore cultist—drags me into one of our supposedly sacrosanct neighborhood booksellers, and I’m always astonished by how much they want me to pay for books. At many local stores, most titles—even new releases—usually go for list price, which means $35 for hardcovers and $9 to $15 for paperbacks. That’s not slightly more than Amazon charges—at Amazon, you can usually save a staggering 30 to 50 percent. In other words, for the price you’d pay for one book at your indie, you could buy two.

    The author compares independent bookstores to Whole Foods in addition to the million other things there are to hate about this article.

    — 2 years ago with 21 notes
    #amazon  #books  #indie bookstores  #reading  #bookstores 
    1. bexesyearofbooks reblogged this from bibliofeminista and added:
      This Farhad Manjoo kid needs to be slapped. His entire article, while appalled by Amazon’s campaign to have...
    2. annaverity said: Hate, hate, hate.
    3. stingyqueens reblogged this from bibliofeminista and added:
      I feel the need to respond to this, because it’s just … wrong. Patently, unequivocally wrong on so many levels. I’m...
    4. jkbrawling reblogged this from bibliofeminista and added:
      How did this article get approved to run on Slate?? Why doesn’t this guy just get a job writing advertisements for...
    5. bibliofeminista posted this