We used to buy books from retail shops, typically Popular, Kino and previously Borders. But nowadays a majority of us buy books online because it is more convenient and it is cheaper.
Well firstly based on statistics, the top categories for mobile commerce in an online research done by The Nielson Company in 2011 shows that the online book market is standing at S$12 million. That is 4th in position. (ref:http://e27.co/?p=26126).
Also, it is convenient that through your smartphones and tablets, you can get the desired books delivered to any location you prefer without the need to leave the house at all.
And so that leaves the question; why is it cheaper? How much cheaper and what are the pros and cons? find out.
Let’s look a comparison based on a book, that is “Lightroom 2″ by Scott Kelby:
Book Depository : S$36.10(book) + Free Shipping = US$36.10 x 1.3 = S$46.93
Kinokuniya @ Takashimaya : S$68
*Note that I did not put up Borders prices as they are usually pricier than Kino’s ones (correct me if I’m wrong)
The numbers speak for itself. It is obvious that online prices are lower than buying from a physical retail shop.
Though i observed that recycling and conservation actively is not a big thing in Singapore. But buying second hand books are considered as recycling books too. Not many people realise this. Lesser fresh pulp is need to produce a batch of new books when the old ones can serve the reading needs of many. And lesser fresh pulp will mean that lesser trees to be felled to cater to production of new books. You get the drift, and it is a fact.
Of course one of the easiest way without getting out of the house to obtain a second hand book is to find them online, be it individual sellers, or online stores. BooksAvenue has some second hand books too, mostly priced at S$5 with free delivery.
When i started BooksAvenue (actually under the business license it is registered as Books Avenue), i wanted to push out book rentals. It is one of best ways to recycle books commercially. But from my observations, it seems that Singaporeans prefer to own books. It is what my partner and i labelled it as the ‘HDB mentality’, in that sense that readers prefer to buy and own the book rather than renting it. Which is true that when i own the book i have all the time to read it.
Back to the topic, when you buy books online, you can choose to buy first or second hand books. That is if you were to buy secondhand books, you are actually recycling books, saving the world one book at a time.
When retailers are paying their lease, rental or utility bills for selling their books at a physical location, where do you think this cost will go to? That’s right, ultimately and inevitably, customers are the one who bear the costs.
Yet it is not the same for online bookstores, there is no rentals to pay, no high overhead costs or any high running costs i can think right now. The only cost, or costs, would probably be web hosting fees (if you are using a registered domain), and other than that, time and effort.
Alas, shipping cost could be a problem too. Due to that, a book with a cheap online price tag could be increased much by shipping cost. This may, as a result, becomes logically cheaper to buy from retail shops. Thankfully there is a way around it. That is purchase secondhand books, or local online bookshops where you have both the low price and cheaper delivery methods.
All in all, buying books online are, no doubt, cheaper.
As much as it is cheaper to buy books online, especially cheaper when buying from local online bookstores, there are still a few downsides to it. One of the possibilities is that you run the risk of getting damaged books. I understand that, and in fact, it happened to me on an occasion before. It is just annoying to pay for damaged books. Hence, i took the effort to take photos of the books that i am listing it on BooksAvenue. Close up shots, page view and edge view to show and share the quality of the books that BooksAvenue is carrying.
Also, because it is purchasing it online, there may be a long wait due to delivery. This, however, can be avoided minimised if you were to buy it from a local online store. I took out the word ‘avoided’ because to some extent, there will still be time required for processing and delivery. Unless you HAVE to read the book now, buying books online is still more economical. As for BooksAvenue, i ensure that the purchased books will reach my clients within 3 days after payment.
Ultimately, what I’m trying to put across here is this: Decide on the books you wish to purchase, check it out online before buying if you do not need to read urgently. There are cheap books online, compared to retail shops. It is always good to have more options. If you can get the same book in another place cheaper, why not? Afterall, every penny saved is a penny earned. 🙂
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Economist • Vogue • Slate • Chicago Tribune • The Seattle Times • Dayton Daily News • Publishers Weekly • Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered SELECTED ONE OF THE TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • The Kansas City Star • Library Journal
In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Bookand the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.
Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.
Herodotus is known as the Father of History, but he was much more than that. He was also the world’s first travel writer, a pioneering geographer, anthropologist, explorer, moralist, tireless investigative reporter and enlightened multiculturalist before the word existed. He was at once learned professor and tabloid journalist, with an unfailing eye for fabulous material to inform and amuse, to titillate, horrify and entertain.
In his masterpiece the Histories, tall stories of dog-headed men, gold-digging ants and flying snakes jostle for space within a mesmerising narrative of the Persian Wars, from which Greece emerged triumphant in 5 BC to give birth to Western civilisation.
A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.
An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler’s Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come.
Please note the that the book is a little old, but still it is readable.
One boy, one boat, one tiger …After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.
Funny, gorgeous, seriously sexy Aaron would be the perfect boyfriend – were it not for two minor character flaws: his all-consuming terror of commitment and his complete inability to remain faithful. Nevertheless, with his girlfriend Jeena faced with exile to India, Aaron conquers his deep-seated fears and agrees to marry her – for one year only. It’s an arrangement between friends, that’s all. After one year, they will divorce – and things will be back to normal. But it was never going to be that easy. Aaron knows nothing of the Indian way, its culture, its rituals, its idealism. When Aaron marries Jeena, he marries her extended family too. The crises, chaos and complications that follow make for a witty and hilarious read. And despite his best intentions, love has a way of creeping up on a man just when he least expects it…
Jodi Picoult, bestselling author of My Sister’s Keeper and The Tenth Circle, pens her most riveting book yet, with a startling and poignant story about the devastating aftermath of a small-town tragedy.
Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens–until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened before her very own eyes–or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show–destroying the closest of friendships and families. Nineteen Minutes asks what it means to be different in our society, who has the right to judge someone else, and whether anyone is ever really who they seem to be.
Tough, resolute, fearless. Alexander was a born warrior and a ruler of passionate ambition who understood the intense adventure of conquest and of the unknown. When he died in 323 B.C.E. at age thirty-two, his vast empire comprised more than two million square miles, spanning from Greece to India. His achievements were unparalleled—he had excelled as leader to his men, founded eighteen new cities, and stamped the face of Greek culture on the ancient East. the myth he created is as potent today as it was in the ancient world.
Robin Lane Fox’s superb account searches through the mass of conflicting evidence and legend to focus on Alexander as a man of his own time. Combining historical scholarship and acute psychological insight, it brings this colossal figure vividly to life.
Synopsis: In 480 B.C., two million Persian invaders come to the mountain pass of Thermopylae in eastern Greece, where they are met by 300 of Sparta’s finest warriors. The Greek loyalists battle for six days in a prelude to their ultimate victory. “Pressfield brings the battle of Thermopylae to brilliant life, and he does for that war what Charles Frazier did for the Civil War in “Cold Mountain.””–Pat Conroy.
Review:Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie.Thus reads an ancient stone at Thermopylae in northern Greece, the site of one of the world’s greatest battles for freedom. Here, in 480 B.C., on a narrow mountain pass above the crystalline Aegean, 300 Spartan knights and their allies faced the massive forces of Xerxes, King of Persia. From the start, there was no question but that the Spartans would perish. In Gates of Fire, however, Steven Pressfield makes their courageous defense–and eventual extinction–unbearably suspenseful.In the tradition of Mary Renault, this historical novel unfolds in flashback. Xeo, the sole Spartan survivor of Thermopylae, has been captured by the Persians, and Xerxes himself presses his young captive to reveal how his tiny cohort kept more than 100,000 Persians at bay for a week. Xeo, however, begins at the beginning, when his childhood home in northern Greece was overrun and he escaped to Sparta. There he is drafted into the elite Spartan guard and rigorously schooled in the art of war–an education brutal enough to destroy half the students, but (oddly enough) not without humor: “The more miserable the conditions, the more convulsing the jokes became, or at least that’s how it seems,” Xeo recalls. His companions in arms are Alexandros, a gentle boy who turns out to be the most courageous of all, and Rooster, an angry, half-Messenian youth.Pressfield’s descriptions of war are breathtaking in their immediacy. They are also meticulously assembled out of physical detail and crisp, uncluttered metaphor:
The forerank of the enemy collapsed immediately as the first shock hit it; the body-length shields seemed to implode rearward, their anchoring spikes rooted slinging from the earth like tent pins in a gale. The forerank archers were literally bowled off their feet, their wall-like shields caving in upon them like fortress redoubts under the assault of the ram…. The valor of the individual Medes was beyond question, but their light hacking blades were harmless as toys; against the massed wall of Spartan armor, they might as well have been defending themselves with reeds or fennel stalks.
Alas, even this human barrier was bound to collapse, as we knew all along it would. “War is work, not mystery,” Xeo laments. But Pressfield’s epic seems to make the opposite argument: courage on this scale is not merely inspiring but ultimately mysterious. –Marianne Painter
Review: “…GATES OF FIRE could not be mistaken for fine literature, but it has other qualities….As a narrator, above all, the author is highly skilful.”