Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Brief Administrative Note and Piece of Shocking News

First the note:
Another blogger just started a blog using the same name as mind, with a slightly different URL.  I talked to the blogger and asked her to consider changing the name since I had some readers contact me with confusion over her username on social media sites, but she isn't willing to do so.  Obviously I don't own the words "Book Hooked" and it's certainly not worth any amount of upset, but I wanted to clarify that the two blogs are unrelated.  There is also the problem of the other blogger using the handle on social media, so I want to make a quick list of how you can find me (and recognize who is not me) via social media and email.

Twitter: @julie37619 (yogabrarian)
Instagram: @julie37619 (yogabrarian)
Facebook: Book Hooked Blog (this is not up and running yet, but I'll announce when it is)
Pintrest: Julie37619 (there's a Book Hooked board you can follow)
Gmail: cla37619@gmail.com

If you see a Book Hooked running around somewhere that isn't one of those places, chances are it is not me!  I'd love to connect with any of you at any of the above accounts!

Now the Shocking News:
A while back (a few years at least, although I can't find the post and don't remember exactly when) I stopped supporting Amazon.  I didn't like their stance on child pornography overseas, mainly (which has been in the news again recently), but I also resented their domination of the book selling marketplace.  So I closed my account and exclusively used Barnes and Noble and used book stores to purchase books.  

It's been brewing for a while now, but recently I've made the decision to switch back to Amazon.  It's not because I like them or respect them and their business practices.  I feel like I've been pushed to them by Barnes and Noble and the total lack of other bookstores in my area.  Where I live you can shop at Barnes and Noble or you can take what you can find at stores like Target or Walmart.  You can also use two local used book stores, but there are no independents and no other chains.  Two things drove me to the decision to no longer patronize B&N.

The first is the horrible customer service.  Luke recently used my account to order me a copy of Jane Eyre from Penguin's Drop Caps series as a gift.  Since it was a gift, he opened the package and removed the plastic wrapping.  Once he gave it to me, we discovered that the spine, which was covered by the wrapping, was discolored.  Because the wrapping, which concealed the damage, had been removed, I couldn't return it online and because Luke had lost his packing slip I couldn't return it to the store.  Learning all of this took various emails, phone calls, web searches, and chats.  At the same time, I needed to return an Amazon book also given as a gift.  It took literally less than five minutes to print off a return shipping label and I had my refund immediately.  How can you argue with the differences in service?  And I've heard SO many similar stories from friends.

The other issue is that I actually ventured into my local Barnes and Noble with a gift card.  Me, with, basically free money, and a bookstore.  I left with a deck of Dutch Blitz cards and some bookmarks.  I couldn't find a single book I wanted to read IN A BOOKSTORE.  Over half the store is devoted to games, toys, figurines, mugs, chocolate, wrapping paper, and stationery.  And out of the small selection of books, a good quarter were publisher remainders.  From what was left, all I could find were books currently featured on Best Seller lists.  No special editions other than the B&N store brand classics (I was specifically searching for more Drop Caps, but any others would have done too) and nothing remotely obscure or that I would have trouble finding on the shelves at the used bookstore or my small local library.  

I really did want to avoid feeding the Amazon monster, but at this point I don't really have any other options.  I know I can always buy indie online, but honestly I'm on a budget and I'm probably not going to spend an extra $15 on a book when I can get it for half the price and with free shipping from Amazon.  So, basically, Amazon and their book-selling monopoly are, reluctantly, back in my life, at least until a better option shows itself.  

Anyone else having issues finding an ethical but fiscally responsible source for books?

3 comments:

  1. It's too bad you don't have a good local bookstore with decent service. The nearest one to me is almost 40 minutes away. A good used bookstore is a little closer. The nearest bookstore closed a couple years back when the owner retired. Amazon does fill the niche.

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  2. I noticed the same thing last time I was at B and N. So much stuff other than books and so many random clearance books. Ugh. Amazon is pretty much my only option too :(

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  3. I feel the same way about B&N. I really wanted to support them, but they just never have the books I want in stock. And I went through 2 Nooks with technical problems and no help from customer service to fix them. So I switched to ordering books on Amazon & downloading them to my Kindle, and it has been problem free! We have a local children's bookstore in town that I like to shop at and an awesome indie bookstore in downtown Indy which I can't get to as often as I'd like. And I use the library of course :)

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