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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Books without Borders

By now you've heard that Borders Books is going out of business (I stole the title of this post from this link, by the way).

As sad as this makes me (a writing group I used to belong to met in the cafe of a Borders in Florida, so I'm sad and nostalgic both), I'd like to offer a few other booksellers as resources. These will be particularly relevant to people living abroad in non-English-speaking countries, people like me who have few options other than the online superstores when it comes to buying books written in English .

Here are two great places I have found to buy books over the internet.

The first is Better World Books. Offering free worldwide shipping and prices on both new and used books that can be hard to beat, this is a great choice. Plus, each book is linked to a charity, and part of the purchase price goes to a good cause. You find out which worthy literary or library cause you are contributing to when you put your book in your shopping cart. Wouldn't you rather give your dollars (or yen) to a for-profit company with a social mission than to the other options out there?

Second is the UK Book Depository. Also offering free worldwide shipping, the largest dedicated online bookstore in Britain sells only new books (as far as I can tell anyway). Interested in reviving titles that are out of print, they have their own imprint, Dodo Books, which offers more than 11,000 free ebooks of obscure but interesting volumes they are interested in making available to readers by lowering the risk of trying something unusual.

These two places should make shopping for your summer reads easy and cheap. However, you do want to compare prices. Sometimes the volumes offered above are ridiculously cheap, and sometimes they are overpriced. The bigger problem is that despite their efforts to offer lots of variety, if you are looking for a particular volume of poetry, you may have difficulty getting it from one of these two places. Or maybe not. If you want any book by a particular author, you can usually get one.

Okay, ready, set, shop!


Shawnte Orion said...

I hate to slip into the role of grumpy old man so soon, but I am sad about the unstoppable shift from bookstores to online ordering.

Online bookstores are great when you are looking for something specific. I love the convenience of being able to find a copy of pretty much any book I can think of, at the click of a mouse.

But the real-life bookstore experience was great for things you weren't looking for...that you didn't even know existed, in the first place. I used to love wandering the bookshelves and having some great cover art or title font catch my eye and lead me to an impulse purchase of a book that might end up changing or enhancing my life in some small way.

You kids today...

/curmudgeon sans

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Shawnte, I am absolutely with you on that. Browsing is an art and a treasure hunt and it brings you to things you will never find online. However, I live in a country in which there is no section (or a scant section) for me to browse in English, so for me, that pleasure is long gone anyway. For you in countries that support your reading language, browse away, and think of me when you do!

Leslie Jam said...

I'm a fan of reading a REAL HOLD IN YOUR HANDS book-may they never, ever go away!

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Me too, Les. I don't have an e-reader yet. Of course, I don't even have a smart phone.....