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Amazon/Waterstones vs independent bookshops

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I was in the habit of buying nearly all my books through Amazon, just for the convenience.

But recently we have had a small independent book shop open, 10 minutes walk from me. It was started by two people who used to manage the local Ottakers bookshop (which I believe was taken over by Waterstones or one of the big chains). The branch of Ottakers was closed a few months ago, leaving us with WH Smiths as the only local book seller. The two ex-managers decided to take the plunge and start their own business: The Big Green Bookshop - there is a blog here: http://woodgreenbookshop.blogspot.com/

I've started shopping in the new shop. It is a joy to shop in. There is a sofa and free coffee if you fancy it, the staff couldn't be more helpful and friendly, they can get nearly any book ordered and in the shop within 24-48 hours, and they even give dinky little paper carrier bags instead of the dreaded plastic bags!

I've decided to do all my book shopping there now. It's a pleasant experience to go in, and I would much rather my money went to a local business, than to a large multi-national company's shareholders.

What's your opinion? Do you prefer the convenience of shopping at Amazon / chain bookshop, or do you prefer to support the smaller business?



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Unfortunately I use Amazon for everything, simply because it is more convenient for me. I cannot go as many places as I would like, but sadly, my nearest bookstore is actually 10 miles away, if you don't count the local WH Smith, and I don't because they are effing useless sometimes, it is really inconvenient. And, when I tell people, they have a go at me for feeding the bigger companies. I cannot win, really. :o

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Our local bookshop closed down about five years ago - and I loved it too. It made the main street an interesting place, and without it there is definitely something missing.

So now, I do use Amazon a lot. But they arent the bargain they used to be, their delivery time is erratic and much slower than it was .

I hear, the publishing houses themselves are now setting up their own internet sites and bypassing Amazon. So perhaps, Amazon's dominance may be challenged?

Unfortunately, it wont bring back my local bookshop - although its really positive to see that one has opened up near you. Maybe local booksellers will start to make a reappearance.

It's coming yet for a' that, that Man to Man, the world o'er, shall brothers be for a' that. (Robert Burns)

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Bookshops have struggled to survive over the past decade, due to internet and also supermarkets undercutting them on bestsellers. Ottakars got taken over by Waterstones. Years before that, Ottakars themselves had taken over James Thin (an east coast Scottish bookshop chain). And remember Dillons?

I found an old James Thin book token for £15 from the early 90s, that I had forgotten about buried away (among all my hoarded junk ;) ).... emailed Ottakars about it and they said it was still valid and they would exchange it for me any time. Then not long afterwards they became defunct. I suppose I need to ask Waterstones now :o



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You need to exchange that token for Clear Your Clutter! :thumb:

(as previously discussed :wave: )

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I've just been reading that Big Green Bookshop blog I posted the link for earlier. It's a really interesting read, starting at when these guys were made redundant, and going through the whole story of starting the business.

Waterstones felt like a 'local' shop when they first arrived, but as they got bigger they became more corporate :(



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Yeah you're right lesleyanne. Waterstones used to be individualised, each shop manager decided on the stock, so they all had a distinctive local bookshop feel to it. Now everything is decided by their central office so they are all much of a muchness now.



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If I have specific books I want I tend to get them from Amazon, as its just more convenient - I live 20 miles from the nearest bookshop!

I have to admit I love Waterstones - there's something about the atmosphere that makes me feel cosy, and I can spend hours in there browsing, especially if they have nice sofas to sit on and have a read!

Having said that, if there was a good and convenient independent bookshop near me I would probably opt to go there over a big chain, because of distinctive feels and to help small shops survive.



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hi sphinx! :wave: welcome to Smeggys! :yippee:

I agree, Amazon is just so fantastically convenient if there's no good shop nearby - or you cant get to it.

My own personal favourite large shop is Borders in Glasgow. I remember when it opened - I think it was the first bookshop I'd ever been in thats served coffee , it was so welcoming and light and exciting - and it had interesting American magazines on sale too.

However, for me, nothing beats a dusty, odd smelling, second hand bookshop - they are impossible to walk past, full of treasures and I just cant resist

It's coming yet for a' that, that Man to Man, the world o'er, shall brothers be for a' that. (Robert Burns)

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I love browsing in secondhand bookshops too. Although a lot of them have their books all higgledy piggledy everywhere.



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I wish there was a proper bookshop in my town. I buy books from Tesco more often than anywhere else these days. I use Amazon when I know exactly what I'm looking for... ie for books for studying or work.

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