So this week, two books that I’ve been anticipating came out, and because I bought one of them online and the other in-store, it got me thinking about which one of these two options I prefer. In this post, I’m going to be weighing up the pros and cons of buying books online versus buying them at a physical bookstore.
The thing that puts online stores up above physical bookstores is definitely the prices. For example, the book I purchased this week was through Book Depository, and they offer not just low prices, but free international delivery to most countries. The only way physical bookstores can compete with this is when they have sales where you can get something like three books for the price of two. Or they sometimes offer loyalty cards that can get you discounts and other benefits. I’m a member with the store I go to, so for every book I buy, I earn points which I can save and end up getting a book for free or at a discounted price. But even then, the prices at stores like Book Depository are just unbeatable, and it’s only one of many online stores with low prices.
The downside to ordering a book online is waiting for it to arrive. This isn’t a problem if you’re a very patient person, but if you’re like me, you wait by the door every day hoping the package will show up and slink off to bed each night disappointed if it doesn’t. Depending on where you live and which retailer you’re ordering from, delivery can be pretty quick. But even so, with physical bookstores you can just pick a book up, take it home, and you have it – it’s yours, and you can put it on your bookshelf to be admired and even start reading it straight away.
But in saying that, when the book you ordered online does finally arrive, it’s always so exciting. You get to open the package as if it’s a present that you’ve sent to yourself. While buying a book in person is definitely the faster option, both give you a different but similar experience of excitement. Whether its finding the book you want in the store and taking it up the counter to purchase, or arriving home to find the package waiting for you and ripping it open to find the shiny new book inside.
Browsing in person and online are different experiences. I myself prefer to walk around a bookstore and explore the great titles, with everything available right there in front of you. But online stores are also great for browsing in a different way. You can search for titles and authors you’re interested in and find things in the genre you like. And all the while you’re sitting down in the comfort of your own home.
When it comes down to it, neither buying books online or at physical bookstores is ultimately the best option. If your main concern is cost, then online stores are the way to go. I used to go to Book Depository all the time to save money, and I still do from time to time, especially if I can’t find the book I want in my local bookstore. But nowadays I do buy most of my books from physical stores because I like to support them seeing as online retail seems to be taking over. I’m not saying that I think everybody should do this – online shopping is the way of the future, and there’s no stopping that. But that’s just one of the reasons I buy most of my books from physical bookstores.
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