Wednesday, October 12, 2011


1Q84 will hit the shelves at the end of this month, and even though it would be a lot easier to carry around on a Kindle, I've pretty much decided this is a book I want to own in hardcover.

The price difference, potentially, is not that much: sells the Kindle edition for $14.99, and the hardcover for $16.04.

However, I believe in supporting a local bookstore if it sells the book I want to buy in the format I want to own.  Preferably, not the Barnes & Noble kind of bookstore, but rather, a local, independent bookstore that is owned and operated by people who love books.  Wherever I have been, such stores have been places of happiness and comfort for me, even if their selection is not as great or their prices not quite so low.

But in this case, said bookstore is likely to sell 1Q84 at its list price ($30.50).  That's $14 more than (which is likely taking a loss).  What to do?

And as I thought about this, I began to ask the same questions about running gear purchases.  Yes, the best prices for a new water bottle or a new pair of shoes are to be found online.  But perhaps, there is a local store that sells the same item, that is more deserving of support.

I can't say I have any answers here.  Just questions.


  1. Personally, when it comes to books, i'll pay a premium to get a book I really want (particularly hardcovers) at an independent bookstore. In the Metrowest area of Boston, this is Tatnuck Booksellers. I make the same decision when it comes to food: I'd rather pay the extra money - which doesn't often come to *that* much more of a difference - in order to support my local, independent businesses. For example, I was part of a meat CSA for years, paying a premium for local, organic meat, and while it was more expensive than buying supermarket meat, the quality of the food was worth every penny. (You don't realize how tasteless store meat is until you go local!)

    For running gear, I generally follow these principles, but given how expensive some gear is, if I find a great deal online, i'll jump on it. I'm not sure exactly where my price tipping point is, but I can't say that i'm immune to sticker shock for gear. Having said that, I do try and support PR Running, my local running store as much as possible. And it's very convenient: it's located right next to Tatnuck!

  2. buy the kindle version now so you can ready it ASAP. then buy the discounted hardcover from the independent book seller once the softback comes out.... you'll probably end up spending less altogether, have the convenience of reading on the kindle (if you find that convenient) and still be able to get your keepsake hardcover.

    in terms of running stores, i've found very few i'd be willing to support over the online shops.... their markup is usually ridiculous, their staff is usually better than thou, if even they probably ARE better than me, and there knowledge pales in comparison to the myriad reviews i get from internet sites.

    i have found a few independent triathlon stores that i am happy to support, with very helpful, knowledgeable staffs and decent (specialized) product selection... but the prices really are quite a bit higher than online.

    with books, it's different... there is just a good feeling about a creaky bookstore, some used books here some new ones there... staff selections that are actually good books you might not find on any other list... but they seem to be evaporating as fast as mom and pop hardware stores... guess there aren't a lot of people willing to pay the nominal markup.

    for me, i read mostly everything on the kindle and have had my heart broken by losing (for various reasons) my prized hardcovers to get back into book collecting. maybe when i buy a house and have more permanent space for them....

  3. Even though it seems much more practical to buy longer books on the Kindle, I suspect that 1Q84 will be the kind of novel where I am constantly flipping back to earlier sections -- "oh, here's a character that I haven't seen since chapter 3 -- what was their story again?" E-books still aren't that great for flipping around.

  4. Haven't ever used one, but does the Kindle have search and bookmarking capabilities? If so, can you just bookmark whenever a character is used for the first time, or when you get their backstory? If that doesn't work, can you search for the character's name?

    I know that i'm ALWAYS flipping through physical books looking for specific quotes and it's like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack unless I had the foresight to fold down the page or put in some kind of physical bookmark (i use photos, Red Sox tickets, and race bibs because they're fun to come across randomly)