I never thought that I would like to get my books from an online bookstore, but I do. It used to be that I’d go into a small bookstore and get to know their inventory better than the people who worked there. In fact, there was never a bookstore that didn’t offer me a job because whenever a customer asked about a book, I had already read it and I could tell them whether they would enjoy it or if I thought they would enjoy something else.
The small bookstores had a wonderful return policy. They let me buy books and take them home to see if I liked them. If I didn’t like them, they would take them back and let me buy something else. They didn’t lose money on me. If I brought back four books (all in pristine condition), I would buy eight books to take their place.
One of the bookstores had a manager who offered me a job but I didn’t know how to use a computer so she made use of me in a different way, a way that I liked better. Every time she got a new shipment of books, she would call me up and ask me to review them. This was great. I didn’t have to buy the books, just review them.
No matter how busy I was, it was OK, as long as I read at least 100 pages of the book. Then I would call her and tell her if the book was written in the style of another author or if it had a fresh appeal. In this way, she was able to sell a lot more books because she was more knowledgeable about them. It was a perfect arrangement. I got to read everything without paying for them and she got to sell all the books I had reviewed because she knew enough of the details to tell customers.
Then, everything changed. The chain stores came in and the small bookstores went out of business, including the one that let me review her new inventory. And their return policy was terrible. I was no longer able to buy books, take them home, read a few pages, and return the ones I didn’t think I’d like. It was awful.
And then I discovered Amazon. They let me return whatever I didn’t like and, once again, I bought more than I returned so Amazon made out very well and so did I.
I’m liking my new virtual bookstore. I’m saving money in gas because my books are delivered to me and I don’t have to run from store to store tracking down what I’m looking for. And I really like their return policy so I keep going back to them.
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