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11.12.2008

Economic Downturn: I Joined a Book Club

Moonrat wrote an excellent post last week on the problems facing the publishing industry. These are troublin' times that we're living in here in America, and the news only grows a bit bleaker as retailers are bracing for a lean season. Barnes and Noble CEO Leonard Riggio is quoted in the linked news story as saying:

"Never in all my years as a bookseller have I seen a retail climate as poor as the one we are in."

I think Jeanne and I are going to find ourselves in that 40% of Americans spending less on Christmas this year. In our situation, it's primarily due to shipping. I do sincerely enjoy shopping for others, and I try to send things. You know, honest to goodness items? Gift cards always felt lazy, somehow.

Not anymore, my friends. I hope everyone likes Barnes and Noble...

But last night I did something I never thought I would. I joined the Book of the Month Club. I was looking for Stephen King's Secret Windows. That little gem is hard to find, let me tell you. Not a copy in all of Jacksonville's fine public library system. I had to track that tome to its source, and they had me at hello with the five books for a buck deal.

Now, I like rare books. I like first editions, and these BotM items have no collectibility or resale value. I know that. But here's the rub: I don't care. I'm going to read them and then pass them along. I only need to buy four books in two years, and the discounts are pretty good. I buy twice that many books in a month sometimes, so it's a pretty nice deal.

There's none of that sending-the-card-back nonsense, which in and of itself is a mark in the internet's favor. So why did I have a stigma about the club? I guess I was a bookstore snob. There--feels good to say it out loud. I do love bookstores, and I won't stop visiting, but in these rough times, I can buy books for everyone on my list and ship them directly from the club.

That's pretty sweet, I think. So how is this economy affecting your book buying? You grabbing 'em in stacks or peering over shoulders?

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