Borders is the only physical book store I go to. When I just moved to the US I did believe in mantra “physical books are expensive”. A trip to “the” book store under the banner of Barnes and Nobles pretty much confirmed that — easy reading in Science Fiction was selling for “recommended price”. And members of special paid program were getting a whopping 10% off (that was a sarcasm) which, after quite cheap books in Russian stores was quite shocking.
And then I discovered Amazon.com and pretty much gave up on physical book shopping — it’s a long process, to dig up something in store, it’s more difficult to find something new, you have no idea if this or that book is interesting and you pay through the nose. The only plus is you can buy a coffee. In a book store. Or flip through pages.
But then I had another revelation — not all bookstores are as snobbish price-wise as B&N. Borders has great Rewards program that pretty much always sends 30+% off coupons, so price difference between Amazon and Borders comes down to a somewhat more manageable buck or two (and a sales tax). Plus once in a while I get those Border bucks.
But marketing departments wouldn’t exist if they didn’t make extra effort to kill off good things and “improve” what is already good into something mediocre or worse. Now Borders is doing this giant push to sell everyone into “Borders Rewards Plus” — kinda like a regular rewards program, but, pretty much like B&N they want to charge for it. It’s not that expensive, just $20 a year, but it’s pretty much worthless.
For now, Plus offers 40% Off Hardcover Bestsellers, and 10-20% off other stuff, except if you use the emailed coupons you already get 30% off for free. So, I guess the response rate has been not quite stellar.
This week I saw a poll asking if you would join this rewards program if it were to offer a full price-match, including Amazon.com online pricing. While that is an interesting idea, I don’t think it will make much difference.
For people who don’t want to pay extra-inflated list price, there will always be “regular” free coupons. For those who do want an Amazon.com price, there’s always Amazon.com. Because local store has to charge sales tax. And I never thought books deserved any urgency. Unlike food, you can wait a day to get a book.
And that $20? Why, I’ll just buy an extra book this year.