Friday, May 9, 2008

I Just Got a Refund from Amazon

I have to admit, I still feel guilty ordering books from Amazon. While it's good for me - the service is SO easy to use, books arrive QUICKLY, they give me great RECOMMENDATIONS on what to buy next - I know I'm contributing to the commoditization of the book market and this means that I'm helping to put some smaller booksellers out of service.

This shows that I'm selfish. It also shows that I'm overwhelmed by my varied responsibilities and don't want to have to spend time buying the reference and entertainment materials I want.

Gosh, as if I wasn't feeling guilty enough, Amazon just sent me a REFUND. Talk about good business/good marketing. I didn't even know this REFUND was due to me. Now it will be EVEN HARDER to take my business somewhere else.

Do something REALLY nice for a client, donor, volunteer, partner, or customer today. I guarantee that it will make them feel more LOYAL to you.


Sam Grace said...

I realize that this isn't the main thrust of your post, but I don't think I agree that by supporting Amazon you are pushing small booksellers out of business.

My favorite used bookstore, Bonifant Books in Wheaton, recently went out of business. I'd gone there my entire life, and was a little shocked when I discovered last month it had been replaced by a Tax Service Center. However, my sorrow was short lived because, apart from the physical browsing, I have lost little - not even community! Now I have to help me decide what books I want to read (in case you're unfamiliar with it, it's a social networking for reading - instead of talking about your life, you review books you're reading and share them with your friends) and then I run over to to see which of the used book sites has the best price for the book I currently want. All of those sites -, Amazon, etc - use independent booksellers to sell used books. Some are just people with a few extra in their basement, others are stores like Bonifant that just went online when they realized that paying Wheaton rent just wasn't accomplishing what they needed anymore.

You may be right about losing small new book stores, as opposed to used, but then you have to ask the question: why is it important that I support these stores? For me, the big reason is community focus, specialty, and the ability to browse and discover related books that you might not otherwise know about. Obviously, all but the first can now be served by online box stores. So, the question is, how much do you value that community? Are you taking advantage of it? Are you actually experiencing it? I find the community of Goodreads to be far superior, and thus my guilt is assuaged.

Just a thought. I liked your post. :)

Jocelyn said...

Thanks Sam for helping to assauge my guilt and for alerting me to these great resources.