Sunday, February 14, 2010

Buying local: books v/s music

I went to the Pearl St Mall in downtown Boulder today - something I haven't had a chance to do the past few months, ever since I adopted Roxy. Now that Roxy seems to have gotten over her separation anxiety, I can go out again without too much worry.
Anyway, went to the Boulder Book Store. Each time I go to a physical book store, I feel that I should instead buy an e-book reader, since (a) no dead trees! and (b) local book store prices are usually way more than at Amazon, e-book or not. Still, I have bought a few books over the past couple years, partly out of a sense of supporting the local independent store, and partly if the title really interests me. In that sense, the local book store is great - allows me to browse through new and old titles quickly. I probably would not have looked for, or found, Padgett Powell's The Interrogative Mood, which I bought today. And I very likely would not have got a signed-first-edition through Amazon!
Still, I hesitated to buy Joseph Stiglitz' new book, Freefall. The book looks really interesting, but it's 42% cheaper through Amazon, and almost 65% off in the Kindle edition*. So I came away without the book. I figure the gentry that now occupy most of Boulder (and have raised property values in the city so much that I have to live in Gunbarrel) can shoulder the burden of keeping the local book store open...
Alas, that last option has not quite worked out for Bart's CD cellar. Tonight was their last night, going out of business and everything, including fixtures and furniture, on sale, 60-80% off marked prices. I ended up buying a dozen CD/sets and a pair of funky "beer-sunglasses" (for a friend!) for under $50. Good for me, not so for the local small-business environment. I have benefited on occasion from talking to the sales folks at the brick-and-mortar record stores, as they are usually quite knowledgeable. Still, iTunes and Amazon's (many free!) MP3 collections have diminished the local store's importance.
Or not? Is the local music store just as important as the local book store? Should I help keep the local book store open, even if it creates a significant dent in my wallet?

*I don't even have to own a Kindle to buy the Kindle edition - thanks to Kindle-for-PC, I now own a copy of Freefall.

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