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Re: Amazon/B&N vs Independent Bookstores

I love Amazon and B&N, and have ordered many, many books from them (all at
dramatic cost savings). Their service has been unfailingly prompt -- and, on
the rare occasion when they've been slow answering an E-Mail or something,
they have very graciously given me free shipping, given me a gift
certificate, etc. They also allow buyers to cancel any books not yet
shipped -- unlike some of their online counterparts. I have nothing but
praise for them.

However, _NOTHING_ can even begin to compare with the service provided by a
truly outstanding specialty bookstore.  I used to shop at a phenomenal
mystery bookstore in NYC, where the proprietor knew each customer's tastes
(and was able to see me pick up a book and call out, "No, no, that one is
much too violent for you!" because he knew I hated violence in books).
Although he couldn't afford to give a discount, I saved _TONS_ of money
shopping there because I was truly delighted with each and every purchase.

The same holds true for any kind of truly outstanding specialty bookstore.
I'm not talking about the kind that closed in my neighborhood (small
wonder), where the workers spent most of their time standing around
chatting, and the most help I ever got was a vague gesture when I asked
where something was located.  I'm talking about the kind where the owners
and employees know virtually every book in the store, and are genuinely
happy to help customers find those which will best meet their needs.

Amazon and B&N can't begin to compare with that -- and they know it.

I have not yet ordered anything from Book Central.  However, it sounds as
though that is the kind of store this is -- in which case, you'll save many
times more than the discounts offered by their competitors.


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