Tuesday

Amazon vs. B&N: Where Should My Loyalty Lie?

My first loyalty is to local independent bookstores. But when those aren't an option, I have always tried to support Barnes & Noble over Amazon. I own and use a Nook, and buy Nook books. I have a Barnes and Noble membership card, which costs $25 per year.

My reasoning was simple: Barnes and Noble stocks books! They put cash on the barrelhead in support of authors every single day. To me, that counts for a lot. I don't want to live in a world without physical bookstores. And last Christmas, when Amazon began paying customers $5 to scan a bar code in a store and then order from them? That made me furious.
The world needs brick & mortar stores, because they keep local people employed.

But supporting B&N gets harder every year. The Nook website isn't as fast and resilient as it should be. And their search engine is not very good. Often enough I can't find a book by searching on its title, and must resort to another search method.

And my greatest fear is that B&N will soon give up on Nook altogether. The Nook tablets which came out last year got great reviews in the tech media. But people bought iPad minis instead, at twice the price. And now those Nook tablets keep getting cheaper. And cheaper. That should be a good thing, unless it heralds the beginning of the end.

If my Nook e-reader should meet an untimely demise, I'm not really sure what I'd buy to replace it. I've read over 100 e-books this past year, and I'd guess that about 10% of the time, the book I wanted was not available on the Nook. That's a ratio I can live with.

Many indie authors--and their voices grow louder each year--are staunch Amazon fans. Some say, "there aren't any bookstores around me, anyway." At which point I bite my tongue, because surely Amazon is the reason. But I don't want to be a dinosaur. At some point, what's done is done.

What do you think? Does it make sense to favor B&N over other eVendors, because of their lingering support of physical bookstores?