Sunday, February 8, 2009

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: Consumer's Changing Habits

Earlier this week, I posted about purchasing books online. I’d tried it after reading David Streitfeld’s article “Bargain Hunting for Books and Feeling Sheepish About It”. Streitfeld was able to purchase a pristine copy of a hard-to-find book he was searching for, paying a quarter for the work.

I tested this out, purchasing two books, one from Amazon and one from a book reseller. The results: The first book, Old Flames by Jack Ketchum arrived directly from Amazon and that copy was brand new. The second book, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown was to be a birthday gift for my husband.

Both books arrived promptly – Old Flames in three days and Angels and Demons in five. The copy of Angels and Demons was carefully packed (a bomb could detonate next to the package and it would have remained tightly taped inside the delivery envelop) so no complaints there. The book itself was unmarked, but clearly it was used and smelled a bit musty. Had the book not been intended as a gift it would have been perfectly fine. It turned out my husband had a new copy he’d purchased over a year ago, but hadn't had time to read.

Overall the experience was a very good one. The reseller contacted me via e-mail thanking me for the order as did Amazon. The customer service in both instances was stellar. Unlike David Streitfeld I felt no guilt purchasing books over the Internet versus driving to a brick and mortar store. Everything related to book publishing changed once the shopping habits of consumers changed.

Would I buy books this way again? Absolutely. Two years ago, my husband ordered a hard-to-find work from Amazon simply because that was the only place carrying the book. So in a way, changing our habits is only logical. No doubt there will be tough times and adjustments. We can lament these trends and try to fight them or we can accept shifting habits and patterns, integrating them into our own business and marketing plans.

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