Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Halfprice books - who's doing who a favour?

Wandering past the Angus and Robertson bookstore today, I saw a poster: "50% off all stock!" I wandered in, waiting for the catch. But there didn't appear to be a catch!

Unfortunately for me, I quite literally had my arms full: it had seemed a good idea to carry Elliott through the shopping centre without a pram... or a sling... or a Baby Bjorn... and so I had him, my handbag and 3 carrier bags to grapple with. There was no way I was leaving that store without at least looking though, and as usual I beelined it for the cookery section (we've talked about my cookbook addiction and quite possibly the irony that nothing more complicated than a muffin ever extracts from my oven) and then the craft section. There wasn't a whole lot left; but I did manage to snare a copy of Sew Darn Cute, a steal at $16.

I would love to have scanned the bookshelves further, but Elliott was squirming like an earthworm by this stage and I knew I had about 6 minutes to get him home and into bed before major-mall-meltdown. Uh uh.

As I paid for my book, however, I sort of felt as though I was taking advantage of a bad situation. Big corporate or otherwise, here was another iconic store from my childhood desperately waving a white flag. The truth is, the internet is slowly assassinating business. It's happening at all levels and in all industries. We all do it; its so easy to sit at home in the comfort of our squishy armchair, searching and paying for online bargains. Who cares where the product comes from? And slowly but surely, local industries with already slimmer than Jenny Craig margins give way to their global competitors.

I don't mean to rant. And the thought didn't stop me from buying the book. But it did make me think, and  realise that I am more passionate than what I realised about 'shopping local'.

Anyway, I'm sure Angus and Robertson would much rather you buy their drastically discounted books than have stores full of unwanted stock. So run in while you can!

And then, go and buy a juicy apple from your local greengrocer. You'll be doing them a favour, and yourself too. One day your kids will need jobs and its our job to support our little communities!

Have a great day x


  1. I love reading. Always have. I can't go to bed at night without reading at least a few pages before dropping off the sleep (usually dropping said book in the process). I spend heaps of time on Robin Hobb's (my fav author) newsgroup and there has been major discussion lately about the introduction and sudden take over of E-books. I am sure that you can appreciate what this is doing to poor authors, just think about the hype from recording artists with the introduction on downloadable music!!

    Would you buy an E-book? Me persnally I ove too much the smell of paper and the action of turning a page to see whats next. Sitting there with a screen just doesnt appeal to me at all. Thoughts?

  2. It's so sad that this Aussie icon has gone out of business, but at least there are great opps for new books! x

  3. I know exactly what you mean- I got excited at prospective cheap books, but almost feel like a vulture. I love A+R, in fact I worked there during uni- staff dicount was bliss! I buy a lot online now but nothing can beat wandering a book store, coffee in hand, just browsing.

  4. Great post, i know exactly what you mean. I remember being so sad when Gowings in the city closed down, it was such an icon and I would shop there alot. It's sad to see Aussie co's go under and it's hard to know what to do/not do.
    Glad you got some good bargains and that sewing book looks great!


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