This actually came up for me last week, when I found myself buying books as gifts. Decatur has a charming and surprisingly diverse local book store called the Blue Elephant Book Shop. The rule of thumb I TRIED to follow was…
- If they have the book in stock OR can get it in the same timeframe as Amazon OR the item isn’t really time sensitive.
- The cost is not extravagantly higher
… buy it from the local store. The real deal-breaker I run into with brick-and-mortar versus online vendors for me is actually electronics. In this category, I rarely find a truly “local” vendor and the “local” big box stores often have woefully limited selection and truly staggering mark-up (I’ve seen double in some cases). Bottom line / disclaimer: I do a LOT of shopping on Amazon but I do keep an eye open for opportunities to support local business (Pip is the real master of this, however).
I did find myself wishing there was a nice way for local bookstores to hop on the eBook bandwagon. How cool would it be, if you could sample digital books on your tablet/eReader while in a local bookstore but they’d cut off once you physically left the store unless you bought it?
Amazon recently built a price-check app that has left many brick-and-mortar retailers frustrated. The idea isn’t revolutionary at all — many companies use price-checking as a way to beat the competition at the point of purchase — but with Amazon being an online presence, the idea becomes much more cut-throat. That said, retailers are asking customers to boycott Amazon as the new price-check app threatens their holiday sales.
The whole attempt to co-opt the “Occupy” lingo? That’s not really helping you get my sympathy though, retailers.