The discussions lately in Australia have not been so much about ebooks, but about how online bookbuying is killing bricks-and-mortar bookstores. Readings has launched into offering their own ebook option for buying. Amazon has been offering Kindle ebooks here for a while (depending on what territory rights have been sold). But the big panic now seems to be about how many people are buying physical books online. Borders and A&R have now gone into full receivership and it looks like all Borders stores and many A&Rs will close. Is online buying the problem?
I had a think about what I buy these days. I am buying less in the bookstore, for sure. Why? Because I have less money! Like many people in the past couple of years, what they call "discretionary spending" (stuff that is not rent or food) has shrunk for me and my husband. Not just because of the GEC but for other reasons, too. Such as my royalties shrinking (I guess that's GEC-related...) and the fact we have less income for other reasons. So I'm using my public library a lot more. Thank goodness for libraries! But I do love my local indie, the Sun Bookshop, and try to support other indies as well.
But when I looked at my online bookbuying pre-2010, not much has changed. What I buy online are mostly the kinds of books I can't get in bookstores here. Here is a list of what I tend to buy, and why:
* Writing books (like Plot vs Character that I bought recently after hearing about it from a friend) - for a while, Borders stocked a lot of these and then stopped.
* Poetry books (most bookstores here, even Borders at its best, had virtually no poetry I was interested in; Collected Works usually would have to order in, but they are the best).
* Old children's classics that I need for study.
* New children's and YA books that I know either won't be published here or will arrive here in about a year's time.
* New Zealand titles - Australian booksellers are terrible at stocking NZ books!
If I want a crime novel - my favourite recreational reading - I'll buy the ones I want to keep from bookstores and borrow the others from the library. The library is also great for trying out new authors. Who knew JD Robb's crime novels were set in 2060? Not me until I picked one off the library shelf. That's how I also discovered PJ Tracy.
But most of my online bookbuying is of books I can't easily buy in a bookstore here (if at all). They're overseas titles, or out of print. These purchases aren't taking anything away from my local booksellers. Yes, I do use bookdepository.co.uk a lot of the time, for the same reason. Australian online booksellers often don't have what I want, either. I go where I can get what I want, quickly, at a reasonable price.
Actually, my current gripe with Australian online booksellers is their freight costs for overseas customers. I've given up recommending any of them (Fishpond, Boomerang, Nile) to friends and interested readers in the USA and UK for Australian books, because they all charge between $20 and $30 postage! Our books are already more expensive than overseas. So a copy of Meet Rose (one of my titles from Our Australian Girl - Penguin) would cost my US friend $48! Can you blame me for buying a copy down the street and posting it to her for $3?
So how has your bookbuying changed? Are you into ebooks yet? Are you buying from overseas sellers, or sticking close to home?