Saturday, April 09, 2011

BAM Deals and Steals

I made a stop at a brick-and-mortar Books-a-Million today and noticed they had a lot of clearance/remainder bins set up down the center aisle. I also had to avoid the towering stacks of the new Jean M. Auel book (I've decided, I'm not reading it until I know whether or not it's the last one in the series) so I went to investigate. Along with the usual remaindered/bargain books they had a lot of products on sale: journals, audio books, reader and writer gifts, DVDs and leftover seasonal items.

There seemed to be a lot more discount- and remainder-priced hardcovers this time in the clearance bins (this is addition to the enormous selection they regularly stock on their bargain table section.) I saw some novels that have just recently come out in paperback, but even more older titles that probably represent the publisher's pre-OOP stock. They had a range of prices on them from $5.97-$3.00, with most on the lower end of the pricing scale. If you prefer hardcover copies but can't afford them at release price, you might want to browse the bins and see if some of your favorite authors and titles are there.

BAM doesn't always put all their discounted products in bins, btw. Bookmarks that are marked down are kept on the bookmark racks, probably to prevent them from getting bent or torn up. Almost every time I visit BAM I can get at least two or three types of fancy bookmarks regularly priced $2.95 and up for 50% off; occasionally they will discount them down to $1.00.

Discounted audio books, fancy blank books and movie DVDs are probably the best values, as new they can be quite pricey. But while I'm happy to stock up on journals I'm always a bit leery of the other two, especially if the boxes are dented or banged up. If you're shopping for books or movies look for intact boxes that are still shrink-wrapped so you don't end up with discs that have been chipped, broken or partly pilfered.

The biggest steal of all was a bin filled with these little box kits by Running Press. Regularly priced from $5.95-$8.85, they were all marked down to $2.00. A few were in bad shape and a couple were leaking questionable content (in three cases, sand, soap powder, and little bits of metal) but most were intact and in good to new shape.

I love these kits because they make great motivational gifts for family and friends as well as nice little rewards for me when I get through a tough week. They did manage to fit a cute sampling of Paris in Paris in a Box -- more gag than substance, but I'm putting out everything in the guest room for the next time the Euro kid visits. The Classic Art of Calligraphy kit actually came with everything a first-time aspiring calligrapher would need to test their lettering skills (pen, ink, practice paper and a quickie guide book.) I might have to go back and buy a few more boxes of The Answer Deck, a mini-spin on the Tarot, which contained cards that double nicely as character and plot inspiration (tonight after I finish my editing I think I'll open up The Elemental Spa, run a tub and get in touch with my air, fire, earth and water sides.)

I am frustrated with the brick and mortars in my area -- not that we had that many to begin with. The only indy bookstores within an hour driving time for me are Christian-only, rare/antique or USBs. Now that the only Borders left has closed due to the bankruptcy, I'll have to start making a pilgrimage to the only Barnes & Noble left. It's an hour away, though, and with fuel prices climbing the way they are I probably won't visit unless I have to go to that city for other reasons, which averages about two or three trips a year. I don't want to be reduced to ordering strictly online, so BAM (which has two nice big stores only thirty minutes away) will continue to get the lion's share of my book-buying business.

I'm curious, from where are you guys buying the majority of your hardcover and paperback books these days? Are you still trying to get out to the stores, or are gas prices forcing you to order more online? Let us know in comments.


  1. Oh, I'm still in good shape for bookbuying.

    Within 15 minutes of me, I've got...

    an indie.

    Within 30 (well, 20, considering how I drive) minutes

    2 borders that aren't closing
    1 B&N
    1 BAMM
    1 Waldenbooks
    2 indies

    Within 40

    yet another Waldenbooks
    yet another BAMM
    Yet another B&N

    We're good.

    I do very little bookbuying online, unless it's for my Nook app-those, I buy my faves-my die-hard faves, I bought in both print and E. Also, if I'm trying out an author at a cheap price.

    Others? They get bought at the bookstore. Errr...well, one of them. Usually B&N or Waldenbooks.

  2. I still go to Barnes & Noble, but as much as I disliked online shopping in the past, I am finding eBay and to be more and more useful every time I purchase something!


  3. Living in Portland, I'm spoiled by Powells, and also my local neighborhood bookstore, St. Johns Booksellers. I can generally get most books I want from those two stores. We still have a Borders and Barnes & Noble in the area, but they are much farther away and not nearly as satisfying as a long ramble through Powells or a satisfying visit to the neighborhood store.

  4. I'n in a rural area. Believe it or not, we have three bookstores in town, one new, one new/used, and one used + a handful of new from local authors. Plus, we have another indie in a town 20 miles away - oldest bookstore in the state. That one has the best selection by far.

    Biggest problem with the indies is the price. I buy new books so rarely anymore, that when I do, it's lowest price possible - and that's usually online, because I wait til I have $25 worth so it can be free.

    All the chain stores are an hour away. Wish we were closer to the B&N, wish there was a BAM, and wish Powell's wasn't downtown PDX and a pain to get to, because OMG that place is a BOOKSTORE. Huge. Instead of winning the lotto, I just want permission to live there.

  5. I've always split my book buying three ways--indie, big box, and online, roughly 1/3 each.

    When I get my ereader next month, it will probably be 1/2 online and 1/2 indie, dropping the big box out of the mix.

  6. I mostly order through that used store I mentioned a few months back in Ocala: A Novel Idea. She now has a second store right on 200across from the Paddock Mall. Then I make a day of it and pick up my stuff and see what is new and have lunch, etc. Other than that I go to the BAM about a half hour away if I am over there for another reason.

  7. My closest bookstore is an hour away and it's a poorly run indie (if it's even still open - I haven't been there in years). It took me 2 hrs to Borders, but they closed it. Now I have to use Hastings or add another 15 to get to B&N. It's no wonder most of my book purchases are online or off the local grocery store rack.

  8. I buy most of my books online, ever since our local indie closed down (we miss you, Happy Bookseller!). When I'm looking for bargains, I head over to BAM because their YA selection is fabulous.

  9. I live in Edinburgh half the year, and over there I split my buying primarily between-
    -an indie specializing in sci fi/fantasy (where I first found StarDoc!)
    -the used bookstores (5 within a 20 min walking range)
    -Amazon (for other new books that the indie won't carry).
    The big chains over there only carry the biggest US authors, and are expensive to boot.

    I'm in NJ the other half of the year, and split between-
    -a local indie
    -Borders, more often online with their plus membership and free shipping now that they've closed the closest store
    -Strand (used bookstore in New York; "18 miles of books") every book lover should go there at least once
    -Powell's online, which I've found to have a great website, good coupons, and good used book prices and choices in addition to anything new you chould want
    -the two local Barnes and Nobles
    -Amazon occasionally

  10. For me, it's about half and half. I have a B&N and Borders not too far from me and those days I just want to wander, I go there (more B&N than Borders to be honest, but because the B&N is a tad closer) but when I want something quick, it's online though I split my shopping between Amazon, B&N, Book Depository and Powels.

    I really prefer to wander though. For hours if I have the time.

  11. We have one local indie bookstore that carries new fiction and will order in anything on request. The city has never allowed chains, so it's still here, and there's also a new age bookstore that has all kinds of interesting things. There's a B&N on the Kitsap Peninsula where we trek on rare occasions. A good bribe for our kids is a trip to the local bookstore to pick out any book they want.

  12. I am still ok on books. I have a B&N, a Borders and a couple used stores all within a half hour. Makes me a happy camper.

    BTW, just read Jean Auel's book and I urge you NOT TO READ IT if you like the series. I was so disappointed with where the story went for this book. If you like a decent ending to the series stick with the last book. I am hoping a little more distance from that book will renew my enjoyment of the series but it seriously affected my happy associations with the series.


  13. I am in a similar position with 2 BAM stores and nothing else. We used to have a Barnes & Noble but that closed over a year ago. There is one pretty good USB unless you're looking for something just published.

    Since the B&N closed, the two BAM stores have seemed somewhat lackadaisical in stocking the shelves promptly. Especially over the last six months, when I go looking for a new release it may or may not be there.

    I used to love going to the book store, but these days the book section keeps being reduced to make space for DVDs and selling Nook and accessories.

    I've been buying most books online and also more e-books. At least I can get what I'm looking for either on the release date or shortly thereafter.

  14. Keita Haruka5:35 PM

    It's not really gas prices forcing me to head online. It's simply the lack of good book stores in my area. The one we have here that I can reach easily has very little floor space. You can browse the whole store in 15 minutes. That's hardly worth making the 15 drive for. It takes me longer to drive there than it takes me to browse. :p So I only go when I have other things to do as well...which is only about once a month. Over the last 6 months I've bought 4 books there

  15. I'm about 5 minutes from Hastings, but I've gotten away from buying there b/c of the extremely poor customer service and price. Even their website is more affordable than in person.

    I'm also close to 5 used book stores and B&N, but gas prices have pushed my book buying trips to once a month.

    There used to be a really awesome indie book store in Boise but it moved to downtown and it's a pain in the butt to get to and park near. Plus their selection was cut down when they downsized spaces.

    I mostly shop online now. Gas prices, book prices (and the terrible discounts at brick and mortar stores) and free shipping all influence when and where I buy now.

  16. I live in Germany and prefer to read in English, so I have to order most English language books online.

    The chain bookstores usually have a section with foreign language books, as do academic bookstores, train station bookstores and some indies. The fiction selection has gotten a lot better in the past few years, but it still tends heavily towards crime and literary fiction. SF and fantasy are spotty, with romance you're often out of luck, unless it's the very biggest names such as Nora Roberts. Non-fiction is problematic, unless it's Freakonomics or Malcolm Gladwell or some such thing. We used to have a great indie that specialized art books, cinema books, coffee table books and the like, but they closed. I will buy English language books in those stores that carry them, if they have a book I want, and sometimes I pick up an impulse buy.

    The chain stores and indies are pretty good for German language books. Even supermarkets can have a decent selection (e.g. I have spotted the German editions of your Darkyn novels at a supermarket) and I sometimes buy there. But if I'm looking for a specific German book, e.g. as a present, and can't find it locally, I'll order it via Amazon. The price isn't an issue with German books, because we have fixed prices for books, i.e. they cost the same everywhere.

    I guess my bookbuying is roughly half Amazon and half brick and mortar, mostly chain stores.

  17. I'm not. I've been e-book only for over a year since I bought my Nook and have so many books my TBR shelf is hundred's long. I do occasionally visit the local BN for coffee and read my nook while I am there.The BN is about a 1/2 hour away for me so I go a few times a month.

  18. Edinburgh (Scotland) has an amazing SF bookshop called Transreal Fiction, so I make all my discoveries there, often thanks to recommendations from the scarily telepathic owner. However, for books 2+ of series, I often resort to Amazon.

  19. I have been seduced by the Kindle so most of my book buying these days in e-books from Amazon. However, I am very lucky to have a great indie bookstore just a few blocks from my house and I've been making an effort to go in there every few weeks to purchase something. If you are forced to shop online, consider ordering from a indie bookseller. The one near me is Women and Children First:
    So if you don't have your own local bookstore to support, feel free to support mine. :) They are a great place that brings in writers and poets for readings on a regular basis.

  20. Thankfully I have lots of choices within 30 minutes where I am including half a dozen indie and 2 Barnes & Nobles. Technically the Borders here hasn't closed yet but as I had friends working there that were treated very badly with the closing, even the massive deals won't tempt me in there.

  21. There is a BAM in town and a Barnes & Nobles about 10 miles away. We have an idie bookstore but it caters to the college crowd. I buy quite a bit online because of time constraints.