December 21, 2011

RTW: Book Dealers For This Book Junkie

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
Where do you buy most of your books?

I get my books from a variety of sources depending on a) convenience, b) price, and c) my level of impatience:

1) OR 
There's something so fun about browsing online, ordering enough books to get free shipping (only $25 now), and having those books arrive in the mail. I like getting parcels and it's always a little bit like Christmas no matter what time of the year when a box of books arrives in the mail. Amazon won't be getting much of my business anymore as they ship to Canada with UPS. The last time UPS delivered a parcel from Amazon (with books, blu rays, and video games purchased for Christmas) they decided to leave it in my recycle bin on my back porch where it sat overnight and got completely covered in snow. I was home all day and didn't hear a knock on the door. Not a happy Jaime, let me tell you. Fortunately, nothing was wrecked or stolen.

2)  Indigo (aka Chapters aka Coles)
I buy books at Indigo/Chapters/Coles when the prices are reasonable, when I'm wanting a particular book NOW, or when I'm just in the mood to buy a book. The thing about Canada - and I've mentioned this before - when we pay the listed price on a hardback book we're getting hosed. Big time. Even when our money is at par with the U.S. dollar or doing better, we still pay a few dollars more for a book than our American neighbours. It makes me a little hesitant to buy books when they first come out in store.

If you're unfamiliar with bookcloseouts (there's an American site too), it's just basically a bargain book dealer. When publishers are trying to clear out excess inventory, they send new books to bookcloseouts. Sometimes the books can be a little dinged up, but mostly I've gotten nothing but quality from them. And here's the beauty of it: they're dirt cheap. I recently bought a box of 10+ books and paid around $30 total and that includes shipping. I suppose this makes me a bit of a cheapskate, but if you saw the amount of books that I own, you'd maybe understand. 

4)  Walmart/Costco/Superstore
I know, I know. This does nothing to help keep brick & mortar bookstores afloat. That makes me feel a teensy bit bad, but at the same time I'd really like to know why our big box bookstore (Chapters) sells books for the hefty price that they do, when their own website lists them cheaper and all of these other big box stores sell them cheaper as well. And we're talking a good 30% cheaper. That's fairly substantial when you're talking paying $20 for a hardback book at regular price. 

5)  Kobo Store
This is where the convenience and impatience factor comes into play. I purchased a Kobo e-reader in the Spring before heading to Mexico on vacation. I figured it was a million times more convenient having an e-reader than a stack of books in my luggage. Since then I tend to buy ebooks when I want a book right now and can't or don't want to leave the house. I die a little inside every time I read a book on an e-reader, though. I hate to think that with every ebook purchase I make I could be furthering the ultimate demise of real, honest-to-goodness, paper books. A little dramatic, sure, but still.

6)  Used Bookstores OR Used Book Sales
This is not something I do very often anymore, but every now and again I purchase used books. There are a couple of fundraisers or charities that collect used books to sell, putting the proceeds toward their cause (ie. the Symphony, Servants Anonymous, and Raise-a-Reader). These are all great causes and I love riffling through mountains of used books anyway. The books I buy at these kinds of events are not usually at the top of my TBR list, but they're good finds all the same. 

How about you? Who's your favourite dealer for your book habit?

*     *      *
In other personally exciting news:
I seem to be a little bit lucky this week. Maybe Katy Upperman's crazy good luck is rubbing off on me. I just won a pre-ordered copy of YA Highway's Kristen Hubbard's upcoming book WANDERLOVE which is due out in March 2012 (Thanks!). And earlier this week, I won an ARC of Marissa Meyer's CINDER from the super awesome Rebecca Behrens' Festivus Giveaway (Thanks!!). I'm thinking I should maybe consider buying a lottery ticket. Just sayin'...


  1. I don't think anyone has the right to make anyone else feel bad about where they get their books. I've snagged books from Wal-Mart, especially as last minute gifts or if they've got a sale going on.

    I'm going to have to check out Bookcloseouts, thanks!

  2. I'm totally with you on the thrill of getting a parcel of books. Bookstores satisfy that immediate need for a fix, but there's something about the anticipation of waiting for that book to come by mail... and then the salivating joy of opening the parcel when it arrives, then hugging the books, smelling their freshness... sorry, getting a little carried away there. :)

    I've never had a problem with UPS here. I would hope they would treat our Canadian neighbors with a bit more respect than that, though.

    And I am checking out BookCloseOuts. Thanks for the tip, Jaime!

  3. I love the charm :-) I understand the drama concerning e-books. I am thinking about getting a kindle but have not yet managed to convince myself!

  4. Athena: I tend to agree with you about the guilt trip thing. I do, however, have a problem with the Amazon app that encourages people to scan barcodes in their local stores and order immediately from Amazon. That's just bad form. I do like getting books for cheap, but I just go directly to where they're cheaper instead =)

    Colin: Ha ha! We should start a Book-Sniffers Anonymous group. I seriously will wedge my nose in a book just to sniff that book smell goodness. As for UPS: This is not the first time I've had problems with them. Boo.

    Commutinggirl: Isn't the charm cute? As for the e-book, I use it only once in a while. Real books are more my thing, but the e-reader is super handy.

  5. I feel bad when I buy books from anywhere other than a bookshop, but unfortunately I have to be careful how much I spend on something I'll probably devour in a matter of hours.

    Absolutely LOVE your blog's design. So festive and pretty!

  6. Miss Cole: I have to watch my spending on books too so that's why I buy them cheaper whenever I can. Thanks for the blog compliment =)

  7. I'm going to check out Bookcloseouts now! Thanks for the tip :)

    And you know, I've always wondered about the whole Canadian prices thing. We used to visit Canada a lot when I was younger, and a lot of stuff was cheaper since even though the prices were higher, the American dollar was worth more. Now, with the CA dollar and the US dollar being worth basically the same, I was curious whether they would lower the CA prices to match, at least on US goods... obviously not. That's pretty sketchy if you ask me!

  8. Crystal: Sketchy is right! =) I frequently come across books that actually say on the tag 'more in Canada' and they'll just scan as more expensive (they don't even list a price, they just assume it's more). Craziness.

  9. I admit I buy books from Costco and Walmart too. It's just when you're on a budget it's hard to pay the hefty price bookstores carry.

    Love the picture of Santa at the top of your blog. Very festive.

  10. Theresa: I hear you! I'd love to be able to afford full price books, but that's just not feasible when you've got a real book habit.

  11. I've been told if two good things happen in the same day then that's the time to buy a lottery ticket because all good things come in threes! Go for it!

    I usually prefer to go and buy my books because I've had ridiculous problems in the past buying online. The book just won't get shipped out weeks after ordering it. Luckily they won't take my money until after it's been sent to me so I can just cancel it. And it's a shame because on the store's online website the prices are usually lower than what they are in the store.

  12. Thanks for the tip on Bookcloseouts!!

    Also, I'm a total book-sniffer. More like book-huffer. :)

  13. I'll have to check out bookcloseouts.

  14. Robin: You might be right about the good things in threes thing! I've mostly had good online ordering experiences, which is good because it's definitely cheaper.

    Mandy: Book-huffer! Bahaha! I totally LOL'd when I read that. It just sounds so much worse =)

    Yael: I have gotten many books from bookcloseouts. Their shipping is pretty reasonable too.

    Everyone: It's not always easy to find books you want on bookcloseouts, but if you visit regularly you can often find really good deals on books you want. Also be sure that the copy you're ordering isn't a 'Scratch & Dent' copy (they actually say if they are). Sometimes the Scratch & Dent copies aren't even that bad (ie. might be missing the book jacket, for example).

  15. Wow, many places!
    Since I'm out of the US and on a non-English speaking country, I end up buying e-books from ;)

  16. Bargains FTW!!!

    And congrats on your win!

  17. I'd definitely pick up a lottery ticket, ASAP! You're on a roll.

    I do my book buying on Amazon (thankfully I haven't had trouble with deliver) because as a Prime member I don't have to pay shipping on anything. Thanks for the Bookcloseouts tip. I need to check it out!

  18. Congrats on the wins--those are so fun! I hadn't heard of the Bookcloseouts site, but I used to work for Books Inc. and they would buy remaindered books by the pallet to sell as bargain books. I scored some signed copies off the 98 cent table a few times. The best week was when the University of Nebraska (Bison) books came in--tons of folklore and Native Americana titles. Drool.

  19. Juliana: Thank goodness for online bookstores!

    Alison: Gotta love a good bargain =) And thanks for the congrats! I don't usually win things.

    Tracey: I think I just might get a ticket (I'm the new Katy, apparently).

    Angelica: 98 cents?! That's a crazy awesome deal!

  20. Congratulations on your prizes! Amazon made me angry a while back; I ordered something, had an estimated arrival date, and then on that date, I got an email saying they were back ordered, so my package would not be arriving. They refunded my money, but I was upset because I had already waited all that time. But yay for Bookcloseouts-- I'll have to try that one.

  21. You have totally stolen my luck because I haven't won a giveaway in DAYS! And you got two good ones... I'm dying to read both WANDERLOVE and CINDER! Let me know how much you love them after reading. :)

  22. I'm jealous of all your bookstore options! Our big local seller went down last year, so I'm mostly on Amazon now. But we do have a nice used bookstore that I go to for older copies of books--mostly as gifts. Congratulations on your prizes!

  23. Ooh, congrats on winning Wanderlove!
    Thanks for all the book-buying tips--I buy so many that I'm always stretching my book budget.

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