I recently read your editorial in the Spring 2003 O'Reilly catalog regarding buying books where you shop. It was thought provoking and I agree with the point you were making.
I would like to solicit your thoughts on a common practice of mine: I will go to my local Borders bookstore, browse, then go to Borders.com (I know, they're teamed up with Amazon now; you could substitute Barnes & Noble for sake of example) and order the book(s). The main point here is that I buy at the online store of the brick and mortar bookstore I visited. In my case, that is almost always Borders (since they use Unix) as opposed to Barnes and Noble (which uses Windows). Please also note that I do not purchase online exclusively; more often than not my wife and I walk out of Borders with something under our arm.
Why do I frequently buy online after shopping at the local bookstore? Two main reasons. First, I save significant money because the book is typically discounted online, I don't have to pay sales tax, and I buy enough to get free shipping. Second, I get to thumb my nose at the idiots in the Tennessee State Legislature who want to impose a repressive 9.25% sales tax on me because they're too stupid (and cowardly) to fix our tax system.
What I'd like your thoughts on, since I don't have a lot of knowledge about the publishing industry, is am I really harming Borders (or Barnes and Noble) by this practice? I would think that the major chains would realize that I'm not the only one doing this and therefore "subsidize" the brick and mortars with the profits from the online store. Am I wrong about that?
I certainly see how I would be harming a local Mom and Pop bookstore if I browsed there, then went to Amazon.com to buy, but I don't see how buying at the online store of the brick and mortar I browsed at harms them. Please enlighten me if I'm wrong...
Kevin Buterbaugh - Systems Engineer