The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Reasons to Buy books from Waterstones (and other independent booksellers) – And the best book of the year?

This may be my first ever blog on shopping and certainly the first one on xmas shopping.  Frankly I don’t like shopping and never know what to buy at xmas, so my expeditions have a kind of random aura attached to them.

During the last year I am guilty as accused of buying numerous books from Amazon. In my defence my daughter has instigated Amazon Prime and most purchases tend to be very last minute. A visitation to the shopping precincts at xmas however cannot be totally prevented.

Books are a great present, in that so many varieties and authors exist and my norm would be to buy a decent number at xmas. Waterstones have always impressed me. The shop in Sutton is my nearest one and what was striking yesterday was that the shop was busy and had an aura of excitement , with children prowling the aisles between the books, small tables for frazzled mothers to rest ( feet and bags), and a large upstairs cafe that is integrated into the shop with expertise. All in all a happy shop with an aroma of nice coffee. A mixture of young and old sat also at tables with their computers and books. It gave me the impression of being a living shop.

The advantages of physically going into a shop are quite obvious, but what is less obvious is that the choice is massively increased, as for any given genre, there are many options all spread out together in the same section. Sometimes a quick browse of a page or two is enough to either confirm a purchase or decide that one does not like the way an author writes. The first page of a book is often a good place to decide if the writing is what is desired.

Waterstones in Sutton is a large shop over two floors and it did not take too long to buy around 7 books and spend in total with other items there £100. There were a few nice surprises, being offered chocolates at the cash till, helpful staff who answered questions accurately, many half price offers ( buy one book, get another half price). What however less expected was that a stamped card was given to me after paying, with one stamp for each £10 spent, and the completed card was thus worth £10 ( on my next visit). In addition the loyalty card earned me around £3, so in total a 13% discount. Factoring in the half price reduction as above the discount increased to around 18%.

So harbouring happy Waterstones shaped thoughts I disappeared home, to find that in my twitter feed was a sad tale of a young man who had left his Waterstones bag on a train and was appealing to South Western trains to see if it could be recovered. A woman replied saying that she worked for Waterstones and if he could let her know the book ( 6 childrens books), she would get them replaced.

So I am decided and this is where I shall buy all my books in future. Lastly , the best book of the year ( bought in an independent bookseller in Edinburgh). Graeme Macrae Burnet. His Bloody Project.





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