Buying Books Online vs. In-Store | Chit Chat

Today I’m writing a post about something completely random (when aren’t I, though?). I want to chat about the experiences of buying books in an actual bookstore versus ordering them online. I thoroughly enjoy going to the bookstore and I could spend hours on end perusing the shelves. My favorite store to go to is a used bookstore where everything is half off the publisher’s price, unless it’s on clearance. Not going to lie, I usually spend the most time scoping the clearance shelves because who can resist getting a book for $0.25-$1? I sure as hell can’t.  I also almost never go to a bookstore with a shopping list because I enjoy wandering through the store.

However, being a kindle reader, most of the time I don’t get to the bookstore as often as I used to and/or would like. In fact, I don’t even have to leave my kindle to buy books. In this day and age everything we do is about convenience, and with sites like amazon, book depository, and book outlet offering discounted prices, why would we want to go to a bookstore and pay full price? For me, it’s about the experience of being in the bookstore; I love the smell of the books, the sounds of the soft music playing, and the excitement of possibly discovering my new favorite book.

When we order books online (which I’m not by any means knocking, because I do it all the time), we’re forfeiting that experience. In my first Wanderlust Wednesday post, I picked out bookstores that weren’t only pretty, but gave you an awesome experience. Which kind of raises another question; do we go to bookstores because we actually need to, or do we go because sometimes it’s more of a novelty experience? A prime example for me is Bookman’s Corner in downtown Chicago; it’s nowhere near me, and I’d have to make a day trip out of it, take trains, subways, all that fun stuff. The reason why I want to go there? Purely because of seemingly chaotic organization of the store with the stacks of books everywhere.

It all goes back to the experience that I keep referencing. Buying books in a store is also much more personal. There’s this little used book store in the downtown area of the town where I work, and the lady used a book and calculator to keep track of her sales. There’s just something so endearing about that and I love it.

So then why does buying books online usually win out? Well, a lot of times it’s easier, and being an amazon prime member, I can usually get the book faster than when I’d finally go out to get it, plus, cost is usually lower. I rarely run errands directly after work; I’m weird and I like to go back out later once I’ve eaten, changed, and traffic has dispersed. It’s definitely more impersonal, because you don’t have that person there to ask questions or gush about a new book that just released. Instead it’s just a screen and a keyboard. Does the whole, “our generation is so impersonal” thing come into play, and we just don’t like interacting with people anymore? 😛

It may be impersonal, but I can’t deny the excitement of seeing a package on my doorstep when I get home from work. The experience of opening the box and unveiling the book is pretty dang cool too.  And if I happened to score an awesome deal? Heck yeah! *sigh*

If you made this far, thank you. I literally just felt like rambling about buying books. What’s your favorite way to purchase them? Do you go for the experience, or am I just a weirdo? Let’s chat below!

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11 thoughts on “Buying Books Online vs. In-Store | Chit Chat

  1. Read Diverse Books says:

    I can’t remember the last time I bought a physical book online.
    I enjoy going to bookstores and supporting the publishing industry so much. So 90% of my books come from bookstores and that’s probably not going to change for a long time. 🙂

    Yeah, it can be more expensive, but I have coupons and a get membership discounts from Barnes and Noble so I’m constantly saving money.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carrianne says:

      Good on you for supporting the publishing industry! I just joined B&N as well. I’m super excited about it (especially the free shipping), although I have yet to get any coupons. I wish more stores had loyalty programs like that, I’d be a member in sooo many. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles says:

    I buy all of my books either off of Amazon or from my local used bookstores!

    I love Amazon because they usually have really great deals on popular books. Also like you said, the feeling of opening up a box is a great experience – in a way, it’s like opening a present! I also have Amazon Prime, so that means I receive books super quickly. I probably buy most of my books off of Amazon.

    I absolutely adore the used bookstores near me, and I go once every 2-3 weeks. I can be in there for hours looking at the newly arrived used books and deciding which ones to buy. Without fail, I leave used bookstores with a purchase.

    I love this discussion post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emily | RoseRead says:

    I definitely agree with you about bookstores being about the experience. A lot of people (me included) dislike getting books online because not only do you lose the personal factor (booksellers are great to talk with about books!), but also the browsing factor. I never browse online sites for new things, but in the bookstore that’s all I do. So I think online shopping holds people back from discovering new reads a bit. However, I also agree that coming home to a package is a fantastic feeling! When I order online, usually it’s for pre-order purposes of a book I know I’m going to buy anyway and I want to get it the day it comes out. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews says:

    This is such a mixed answer for me because I prefer reading on my Kindle so I buy a ton of books from the Amazon and Kobo App stores.

    I LOVE buying physical copies of books though and I definitely think I prefer going into actual book stores. There’s just something about them that are so magical (especially used bookstores). I love being able to pick the book up and flip through the pages. I can spend hours there even if I don’t buy anyway.

    Unfortunately, living in the middle of nowhere I only have a couple of bookstores in my town so most of my purchase have be done online. I LOVE receiving packages in the mail though. I turn into a little kid when they show up!

    Liked by 1 person

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