Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cut the middleman! Cut the mothereffing middleman!

We've all seen how in recent years, bookstores have been going under one by one like dominoes. Even giants like Borders aren't immune to the attack of online bookstores.

As much as I love reading and would love to support the paperback industry, I'm still a prudent buyer or in modern terms, a cheapskate. I was wandering around in a bookstore in Hamburg two weeks ago when I saw a copy of Moby Dick retailing at 8 euros. The book came out such a long time ago that a Buddhist could have been reborn 3 times since the first edition, so it doesn't really make sense for it to be so ridiculously expensive. So I looked up on Amazon and bought a used copy of the novel. It cost me 1.76 euros with free shipping, and it was delivered to my office desk the next day. And the book is in mint condition and could pass for a new one if it wasn't for this small stamp indicating it had belonged to a library somewhere.

It's a no-brainer, really. You pay a fraction of a book's retail price with just 3 clicks, like literally 3 mind-blowingly simple movements of your index finger, and you wake up the next morning with the book on your doorstep. Sometimes, going to a physical bookstore to buy a novel is like saying, "No, I don't want to pay 3 euros for a large pizza and have it delivered free of charge to my house. I want to go to Pizza Hut to pick up the pizza myself, and pay 4 times as much. I insist."

As if the low price and the speedy delivery hadnt't sufficed, Amazon decided to go all out to kiss my ass by giving me a card that allows free 30-day trial of its new online streaming services from which I can download all kinds of movies and TV series at no cost. It's like getting cheap pizza, having it delivered for free, and on top of that they give you 45000 DVD or Blu-Ray quality movies to choose from in case you need to watch something while enjoying the delicious pizza.

Sometimes it really puzzles me how Amazon makes money, but I don't care as long as I benefit from its heavenly system.

This all being said, I bought a new copy of Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (an amazing read, by the way, I'll review it in another post) at the same Hamburg bookstore and that set me back 14 euros. But that was only because I needed something to read on the train and bus ride back home.

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