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Book Shopping in 2023

Has reading (and buying) books changed?

May 22 Blog AR Pauline Baird Jones

Has reading (and buying) books changed a lot since the turn of the century (wow, that feels strange to write) for you, too? 

It sure has for me!  

It’s hard to imagine now because technology is changing even as I type this blog post, but we all used to read print books. If we had a preference, it was for paperback or hardback. There were no other options. 

Then the internet happened. I can remember thinking, even back then, that it was going to change how we bought books and possibly how we read them. I was so excited when Amazon first opened its virtual store.

I had no idea there were so many books that I wasn’t seeing in the library or bookstores. And the ability to find and order books that I’d long wanted to add to my shelves? Bliss!

And the technology kept changing and then changing again. Now I read mostly on a tablet. I’ve bought three print books this year, and that was because they were enhanced editions that wouldn’t work as digital books. 

So yes, I love collecting books for my reader and being able to browse through them like a miser counting her gold, looking for the right book to match my mood. 

But how do I buy books? It is changing again. The other day I hopped into Amazon to look for a very specific book. I didn’t have a direct link, but I had the title and the author. I searched using the exact title and author. And it took me FIVE minutes to get to the actual order page! It was nuts! 

The page was full of ads and books I wasn’t looking for. I was so frustrated when I finally landed where I wanted to. 

So, how I buy books is starting to change, too. The biggest change is that I’m starting to buy direct from the authors. Why? 

Well, buying from them has become easier than buying from the big online stores. This is a big change. And the authors offer discounts if I buy more than one book from them. So I go in wanting to buy one book and buy more. And sometimes, I end up getting the audiobooks, too. Haha 

And, putting on my author hat here, I know the authors make more money on the sale when I buy direct from them. So it is a win for me and a win for them. 

Here are some other reasons to buy direct from the author:

You can shop in your pajamas (this is one of my favorite reasons, lol)

Searching is a LOT easier in my bookstore. There aren’t a bunch of ads and other stuff. Once you get to a book page, it is super easy to buy the book (and get those fun discounts for buying more!)

Instant gratification. Okay, I know you can get that from a big store, too, but you can also get that glow from knowing that I’m getting more per sale. 

You don’t have to worry about parking. Lol When we lived in the city, parking was a huge deal. Here in our small town, it’s a little less of a deal, but leaving the house? Always a big deal. Lol

My bookstore doesn’t judge, and there’s no one there with you to judge you for wanting to take a crazy space adventure or visit the Big Easy without leaving home. 

You can shop when you need a book! You can browse without a clerk staring at you, wondering what you’re up to. 

And, as I mentioned above, you are supporting my small business. You can get that wonderful feeling of knowing that your purchase will help me to keep writing the books you want to read—and you can buy more at a discount I can’t offer in the big online stores. 

I can’t bundle books together or offer discounts. And if you don’t see the bundle you want, you can email me, and I’ll set it up for you. 

Why would I do all this? Because I’m a reader, too! I know times are tough, boy, do I know times are tough. One thing that hasn’t changed since the turn of the century is the squeeze that the big publishing business keeps trying to put on authors.

I remember, back in the bad old days when my only option was a publisher, being told that a contract change would be “great” for me. I hate math, but I did that, and it wasn’t great for me at all. I pointed this out, and they said, “Well, we need to make a profit.”

“I need to make a profit, too,” I pointed back.

“Well, then you shouldn’t be publishing with us,” they retorted.

They were right, and we quit each other forthwith (this is a good word for turn-of-the-century talk, don’t you think?)

But that is still the prevailing attitude out there. The squeeze that Amazon is putting on the reader by making it harder to find books impacts the author’s side, too, when readers can’t find my books. 

Now, if you don’t want to buy direct, I totally understand! But there is another way you can help me out. 

Share my books with other readers! (You might need to send them direct links, however.)

Here are some links that will make it easy for you:

Here are some links that will make it easy for you:

My Bookstore

My Amazon author page

Kobo Bookstore

Barnes & Noble 

GooglePlay

 

I would like to include a link for you to Apple Books, but they make it really hard to create a general link. If anyone knows and would share, that would be awesome!

And if you have read a book, give it some stars in your favorite bookstore. It all helps. 

In the meantime, I don’t have words for how grateful I am to each and every person who buys one of my books. I get so much joy from writing them, but that joy increases when readers love them, too. 

So happy reading—no matter how you do it or where you shop!

Perilously yours,

Pauline