Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why I Like Amazon more than Barnes and Noble

For years I’ve enjoyed wandering into Barnes and Nobles stores, browsing the stacks and getting a cup of coffee. They do a nice job, and it’s been one of my favorite book stores in many cities when I’m traveling.

A few years ago I moved to mostly e-reading of books. It was a little of an economic choice when Amazon started selling books for $9.99 instead of the $15 or so that many new books cost in hardback. It’s also very convenient for me. I have bought more and more Amazon books than BN ones, even though I have a library of 30 or 40 books on my BN apps. However BN doesn’t provide many low cost or free books. They’re getting better, but they haven’t made it that easy to find them. I understand, but that turns me off a bit.

I have a Kindle device, one of the refurbished Kindle 3s with special offers. It cost me $30, which was hard to beat. So I tend to visit Amazon, but there was something that struck me yesterday about my experiences with both companies.

Earlier this year I had a gift card from BN and ordered a few books, some of which were not published. One was The Unincorporated Future, the end of a series that my son and I have enjoyed. It published on Tuesday, and I went to check the BN site. I found the book in the “shipped” status, but no tracking. Today it shows as arrived in Englewood, CO, but a delivery estimate of Thursday.

Not a big deal, though my son is hoping to start reading this one first.

A few years back I ordered Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows early from Amazon. The day it was released, it appeared at my house about 4:00, just as my oldest was getting home from school.

It was cool, and somewhat unexpected, but since that happened (and it happened with other books from Amazon), I can’t help but feel a little disappointed in BN. I know they have the books early because the books will be on shelves on publication day. Why can’t they get it to me on that day?

I’ll still visit their stores, but their web service and e-content has disappointed me a few too many times for me to go back online.

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