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Article:
  Buy Where You Shop
Subject:   I agree, in theory, but...
Date:   2003-10-07 09:55:22
From:   saj951
I've been a software engineer for over 24 years. Those of you, like me, know that continued skill upgrade is key to survivial. We buy books - lots of them. And most of them are obsolete within 12 - 18 months. Technical books are expensive - VERY expensive, and far more so than they've ever needed to be. One of the my biggest gripes has always been that I shouldn't be paying $75.00 for a paperback tech book that's 200 pages long. Sorry, but tech books have been a gold mine to publishers every since we emerged from the mainframe - and engineers have spent a fortune on them. I, for one, love Softpro - I can't even walk past the door for less than $100.00. And I do enjoy browsing. But, generally, I know what I need to get without going into a store and, the bottom line is, I'm going to buy it at the cheapest price I can get it at because it's still outrageously over-priced. If I go into Softpro and pick up a book I'm not familiar with, flip through it, and decide it's a good book to pick up, I buy it there - I found it there and used their facilities - I'll pay the premium. But, when I know I need a specific technology, I'm going online. We're not, in many cases, talking about 1 or 2 dollar differences - in many cases we're talking 8 - 12 dollars difference and more. Maybe that's not much to you, but given the fact that I have to do this some 12 - 20 times a year, depending on project, I simply can't ignore that. Maybe the book stores should start getting on the publishers to get a bit more realisting in their pricing so that they could compete more effectively with the online giants - O'Reilly included. You guys are prolific - your books are generally good though they generally contain too much side material. If you took any one of your Java books, tooks out the "side" material that really isn't relevant to the topic, and cut the prices by about 25%, you'd probably put the stores in a position to better compete. Until then, you don't get a better selection, review set or price, in my experience, than Amazon.com. I hate to say it - it sounds cold and I'm really not that way, but, I'll take Amazon over Softpro any day of the week. It's just too expensive in this day and age to be paying those premium prices.
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  • I agree, in theory, but...
    2003-12-31 01:21:00  jwenting [View]

    What is the survival of the bookstore worth to you?

    I've had long talks about the price differences with store owners and they fully admit they can't compete to the larger online stores.
    They DO see the problems but are powerless to do anything about it.
    For example, one item I could buy online for 7 each and I use 100 a year of would cost the store near where I live and where I buy most relevant equipment 10 each from the importer.
    And it's not just that item. Other things are similar. At one point I asked for a quote on a 1500 piece of equipment (online price) and they told me they would have to charge me 2500 to break even on the sale.

    Calculate in the higher cost the small retailers have for real estate, stock, staff (their staff will be higher trained than the highschool dropouts in the warehouse at Amazon who know only how to most economically build packages), etc. and they simply cannot compete.

    Therefore I give local stores (especially the small independents) some 25% on the lowest online price (including shipping cost) I can find. Only if they can't beat that (or can offer a competing item for that cost that serves my purpose just as well) do I go online.

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