Book-buying Habits and the Cold Snap

Salem is frozen. A cold snap from Canada has swept through the Willamette Valley, dropping temperatures below freezing, and gracing the trees with a heavy weight of ice. In fact, the tree outside my apartment sacrificed a few of its limbs to the ice, blocking off my parking space last night.
Frozen tree frozen leaves

Add to it power outages all over town, including my place, and I’m sitting at Starbucks a little earlier than usual.

In my morning perusal of WordPress, I read something having to do with the whole Amazon/Hachette thing. The blogger said some things about cheaper books are good for everyone, and said or implied (I can’t remember now) that everyone uses Amazon to buy books.

Well, after careful reflection, I realized that I have never bought a book through Amazon. I’ve never bought an Ebook, or a normal book through Amazon. I’ve bought movies and music, but not books. In fact, excluding textbooks, I’ve never bought a book online.

This isn’t something I’ve consciously done. I don’t have some personal decree that I shall never purchase fiction on the internet. But, when I lived in Arizona there was a beautiful place called Bookman’s Media Exchange, and I would buy every book I could there. If what I was looking for didn’t live on their shelves, I could visit three Barnes and Nobles along my commute.

In Salem it’s not quite as convenient, but it’s a lot more fun. For instance, I recently tried to hunt down a copy of Stupid & Contagious. There isn’t a single big chain bookstore in town. In fact, the nearest Barnes and Noble is in Eugene, 45 minutes to the south. So I hunted through my favorite store, Escape Fiction, but they didn’t have a copy. I went to Book Bin East, but they didn’t have it either. So, I called their downtown location, and found that they didn’t have a copy either. But, their Corvallis location did, and they could have it shipped to the downtown location at no extra cost. So, three days and $6.50 later, I’ve finally got the book.

But, even through all the searching, I never once considered just buying it offline. It’s not a marketplace I consider when thinking about books. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but the bookstore atmosphere, and the thrill of the hunt are way more important to me than scoring a book for under a buck.

Hell, Escape Fiction sells all their used paperbacks for $2, and hardbacks at half the cover price. So, I get to hunt through an entire warehouse stacked to the ceiling with books, and then have a conversation with the cashier about my purchase, upcoming releases and get recommendations.

And I’m sorry, but a recommendation from the bookshop owner will always mean more to me than some randomly generated list on Amazon or GoodReads.

Plus, at least in Salem, there’s a healthy bookshop community. When I went to see Brent Weeks I saw the owners of Escape Fiction, and they recognized me. We didn’t get chatty or anything, but a small wave and a head nod was all that we really needed.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that your local bookshop, though technically more expensive than the pocket change you can spend on books online, offers books at low prices as well as a sense of community. They help bring author and book events to your town, and if you can’t be bothered to spend a buck or two more in order to keep that alive, then I’m sorry.

Anyway, that rant is concluded, for now. I’ve talked up Salem’s Indie Bookshops (it’s only bookshops) before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again before long.

I’ve been kicking ass at school, and only have a couple things to do today. Write a discussion post, reply to a couple from Wednesday, and take a reading quiz. That should all be done before noon. That leaves me with three hours of free time!

Since Hunting Storm is finished and turned in, I have a couple options for this afternoon. I can continue reading Stupid & Contagious, work on chapter five of Jordinn’s Story, or pick up the edits on Vessels.

Now, I picked up Stupid & Contagious on Wednesday, and I’m already on page 178/317. I have until Wednesday to finish it, and I’m comfortable with the progress I’ve made. Plus, I have about 50 minutes of reading time on my breaks at work.

I’ve stewed on chapter 5 for a while now, and I have some great ideas about how to move it forward. Plus, doing some of my own writing would be nice.

I’ve fallen WAY behind in my editing. I think I’m intimidated by the sheer amount of work the first draft presents. And, though I enjoy editing in general, editing anything longer than 20 pages is just rough. But, I don’t want to give up on it, and I won’t. Also, it’s fairly easy to drop and pick back up, which my current time constraints sort of requires.

So, we’ll see how I feel after homework is finished. But, I’m thinking I’ll be editing later today.

Catch ya later, Blogland!

BZ

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