Monday, February 20, 2006

Waterstone's tries to make friends

Grumpy Old Bookman: Waterstone's tries to make friends Michael Allen aka Grumpy Old Bookman, has an interesting post (link above) about Waterstone's current "charm offensive" (so that's what that article in the Times, mentioned in a post below, was all about). In the post, Allen says that Waterstones and W H Smith operate their "book of the month" system via being paid by the publisher. I'm crushed. Naively, I believed that an independent person or panel chose these books. I wonder if Amazon does the same thing for its "book of the week"? Every week, Amazon chooses three (or fewer) newly published hardbacks and offers them at half-price, for one week only. Is this paid-for or for real? I don't know. But I do know that Amazon often has a huge selection of new paperbacks for 3.99 (pounds) each. I have just bought a few. (Yes, yes, I looked at my basket and fell, I admit it.) I much prefer this to Waterstone's and Borders' "Three for two" offers, as the W/B system seems far more limited in the number of books to choose from. I am so often in the situation of finding two good books in the "3 for 2" category and failing to find a third, or finding a third that isn't in the category. So I either don't take advantage of the offer, or I throw in a third book that I don't really want to make up the deal. Amazon, on the other hand, just sells loads of paperbacks at 3.99 which is just the same as "3 for 2", given that the standard price for a UK paperback is now 5.99 or 6.99 (more for larger format). Sadly we don't have the much-admired (by me) US mass-market category over here. Except via Amazon of course. What was in my today's "Amazon bespoke 3 for 2" delivery? "The Field of Blood" by Denise Mina, "Grip" by David McKeowen and "Dead Simple" by Peter James. And "Let's get Lost" by Sara Manning (for Cathy). But that's 4 books not 3. The beauty of Amazon is that you don't have to limit yourself to multiples of 3 to get the deal either.