Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sometimes I Like the Internet

When searching the internet for used books, I've found Abebooks to be one of the top resources. Recently I was hunting for a specific volume and found several listings for it.

Sometimes Abe sellers are stores, but sometimes they are individuals who are running a mom-and-pop level version of what Amazon was when it still sold only books. I always like to run down the list to see where the seller is located, because if it's within driving distance and it's an actual store, then I like to visit and see what else is on the shelves.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at one store and found it was listed in the very town where I now live (which is not exactly a hotbed of retail). And imagine my extended surprise when I looked up the store's listing and found that it's run from a house two blocks from the church where I serve.

So I sent the store an e-mail saying I'd love to buy their copy but could we waive the shipping charge because I work two blocks from their location. Didn't think anything more about it until the guy comes into the office this afternoon and introduces himself, carrying the book. We talked for 15 or 20 minutes about books and I got an invite to browse the store via its website and just knock on the door if I found something I liked.

Around the world or down the block. Sometimes I like this internet thing.


fillyjonk said...

Conversely, the used book store that I used to frequent when I was in grad school, several years after I graduated I was back in there and the owner commented that the Internet was what was keeping him afloat these days - about 60% of his business was now online. I suspect that it's not just used book stores that experience that.

I....don't think I could be very happy where I live WITHOUT internet shopping, not now. We have a wal-mart and that's about it. Everything else is an hour's round trip away. I keep hoping I'll find some serendipitous store (like your used book store) but it seems we have far more closings than we have openings.

Friar said...

I'm a half-hour from either good-sized small city; the closure of the used book store in your community reduced the good options by half ;-)

Outfits like the one run by my new friend have found a good niche if they can keep stock up and get a good reputation on the used book site listings.