Monday, April 6, 2009

15 reasons why I will always buy from Powell's Books (AKA. forget you Amazon!!!)

I just got an order from Powell's Books, and after three amazing sucessses in a row I am completely sold, forever. Several of you asked me why I am so thrilled with Powell's and so I decided to write a post about it all. There are so many more reasons than 15, but that is what I came up with right now.

Why I love Powell's Books and will never again buy from Amazon it humanly possible:

1.) All your books ship from the same location (amazon sends them all in separate shipments depending on which individual sellers you bought from).

2.)Powell's has a %100 satisfaction guarantee and you work directly with the main company so you don't have little minor disputes, they stand by their service all the way.

3.)When your box comes you feel like you are the queen (or king) of the world!

4.)Their boxes have POWELL'S imprinted on the side and it is a delight to see the mail person walking up to the door with that!

5.)The books are in incredible condition. They may be listed as used, but I have yet to get one that shows it at all! Those who buy back books are very choosy with what they buy back.

6.)I placed the order and while the box was being loaded I decided I wanted another book, I figured I would have to pay for shipping...but I didn't! Until the order is completely processed you have time to add books to your shipment!

7.) At Amazon I have never, ever been able to qualify for their free shipping on orders over $25! I can't seem to jump through the hoops well enough to ever actually end up getting it. Powell's is brilliant.You do have to order a minimum of $50, but then your shipping is free. I kept adding and adding to my order, free is really great.

8.)I am amazed at Powell's shipping fees. On amazon it usually ends up being about $3.99 or so per book (tell me if that isn't right and I will change it).Even if you don't order $50 worth of books at a time, the shipping fees are still way better than anywhere else, it is $2.99 per book + $.99 after the first book. Great price there! (Where Amazon usually ends up being $3.99+$3.99+$3.99 for each book you order)

9.) My books get to me SO much faster than using Amazon, it is not even comparable. I have always done the economy shipping with both Powell's, which says 4-9 days...but I am blessed to live so close to Powell's that it actually only takes one day. Yes, I get a confirmation email that my order has been shipped and three times now without fail the cute mail person is knocking on my door in less than 24 hours, with a beautiful brown on brown package for me! ONE DAY.

10.)It is local, for me at least...and even if it isn't local for you, it is a locally owned business, so I would always ethically speaking choose that over Borders,Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

11.)You can buy used (which is all that I buy) and that saves trees as well. This is the only way to go for me. I love books, but they must be used. Save a tree right!? (I am also really cheap and think it silly to ever have to pay full price for anything).

12.) They actually have responsive, human customer service and it makes my feel like a real human worthy of human contact every time I need to ask a question or get info. Yes, they actually pay someone and don't just use automated emails promising to get back with you witin 48 hours. This may not ever be something you'd notice, but if you ever have a question or concern it is like gold. I have used it twice now, and always hear back within a couple hours if it is during business hours.

13.) They have the most amazing book events. There are fewer and fewer places where authors can go and do book signings and talk to us bookie peeps. Powell's Books is sticking it out with the best of them and their calendar is packed with super special author folks who want to chat in person with their readers!

14.) You can sell them your books online! Even if you live outside of Oregon you can benefit from the virtual credit (or cash if you'd prefer). They pay for shipping!!!

15.) If you have ever been to Powell's Books, or seen my post, you know that another great reason to shop at Powell's is because it is the most outrageously cool bookstore ever, I don't know of a better one, one that is more into helping its customers and giving you all that you need in books. I think that is something any bookie should want to support.

Do you have another great reason to be a Powell's Books loyalist? Comment below and I will ad your reason to the count!!


Jennsbookshelf said...

I LOVE Powell's. They have the best selection. I live in Northern VA and have been to Powell's twice. The second time I went, I preordered a bunch of books to be picked up at the store. Well, I did a little more shopping at the store, and had way too many books to fit in my suitcase (I'm talking about 15 books here!). Powells offered to ship all the books for me, for the low price of $12! And, even better...the books were waiting for me when I arrived home a few days later!

Corinne said...

THANK YOU for this post. I think you've sold me, friend. I love the shipping fees and especially, like you said, that it is a "local" business. I am dreaming of the day that you and I wander the aisles together :)

Serena said...

I live on the east coast, but I may have to start considering powell's with that cheap shipping and the book buyback policy...and the used book sales.

Ruth @ Bookish Ruth said...

I've always had great success with Powell's and have started using them much more frequently than Amazon. I am SUPER picky about my books (I've sent back at least 12 damaged books from Amazon in the past year -- if I'm buying a new book, it should look new!) and have NEVER gotten a damaged book from Powell's, ever.

I also really love being able to sell my books to Powell's online. Saves me a lot of aggravation.

The only thing that I don't like is that I do have to wait awhile for my orders, but that's completely understandable since I'm on the East Coast and I never choose the quickest shipping option. Still, that's a very, very minor inconvenience when it comes to the service and quality of the books I receive.

Also, I've been able to locate several rare and out-of-print books from Powell's at great prices and have never been disappointed. Now, if only I could just beam myself to Portland...

Jena said...

You know what? I miss the free shipping--Powell's used to offer free shipping to Canada, till the rate hike a few years ago. Still, I keep my wishlist at Powell's. When I do order books, Powell's is the first place I go. I link books I review to them from my site, too, and I love their Daily Dose customer review program. My husband and I partially planned our first trip across the US in our van so that we could go through Portland and stop at Powell's. Heaven.

I'm sorry to see that they've postponed/canceled their expansion plans. I was looking forward to seeing that.

Richard said...

I just bought about 15-20 new books recently on two different continents (stimulating the world economy and all that), but now you make me want to buy some more from Powell's! You are a VERY bad influence, Bethany (even if you do advocate buying used)!

Red lady-Bonnie said...

Great post! I am definitely going to look at buying my next order of books from Powell's. I had no idea that they buy used books online so I will check that out as well. I wish that I lived closer so that I could shop there in person.

Trish said...

I've been trying to buy used here locally and if not at the bigger bookstores. They may not be great in many ways, but our communities could also use the sales tax (LOL--not that my book buying makes a difference, but you know).

Amy said...

Well I buy mostly new off Amazon. So a lot of this doesn't apply to me. It may seem silly, but I like to support the authors. :)

tanabata said...

I'm with Amy.. I usually buy new, online at least, I'll buy used sometimes if I'm out browsing. But I have to say that I've always had a good experience with Amazon. And I've never paid for shipping for books from them! :P

bethany said...

jennsbookshelf- That is a great story, thanks so much for sharing!! They have never been anything less than helpful to me either.

Corinne- You are welcome!I know you will love it, it is just a rewarding experience all around.

serena-Yes, it seems that even on the east coast it is worth it to shop at Powell's. It is so fun too!

Ruth- I haven't actually used the online sell back, but I live too close to do that. I love to head up for an event and to lighten my book load every once in a while :) an all around delightful experience.

Jena- I don't know what the expansion was all about, it is HUGE as it is though :) Yeah, I bet that is a bummer about the shipping, maybe it will be free again soon!

Richard- yes, you have done a ton of good with economy stimulating. You may want to take a break...but when you are ready to go, make sure you check out Powells! :)

Red-lady Bonnie- Way cool!! yeah, it is a bummer we all don't live closer. The online experience is great, but in person it is perfection.

Trish- that is awesome that you are supporting your local stores! yes, that is great. Keep it up, it does make a difference for sure.

Amy- oh well they have TONS of NEW books too, all the time. They have good prices and sales on those as well, so you don't need to compromise and buy used if you don't feel that is right, their new inventory is to die for!!

Tanabata- Just like I just told Amy, THERE ARE NEW BOOKS THERE TOO!!! Okay, I guess I just figured everyone already knew that part, but yes their new selection is fab!! Check it out!

Ali said...

Great post, Bethany! And let me reiterate that almost anything you can buy from Amazon, can be bought new from Powell's as well. It's a regular bookstore and a used bookstore, rolled into one giant city of books. :-)

Amy said...

I do actually know that since I'm an Indiespensible subscriber. :)

but I also have Amazon Prime, so until that expires....I do most of my online book shopping there.

farmlanebooks said...

Sounds great! I'm in the UK, so don't have access to Powells, but as a seller on Amazon I think I should stick up for them a bit!

If you are buying second hand books on Amazon then you do need to be very careful, as there are a lot of dodgy sellers out there, selling poor quality books, which are badly packaged, and slow to arrive. There are also lots of excellent, local book sellers, who care about books. Supporting them, is like buying from your local second-hand book store, and may keep one of the few remaining independant ones open.

When buying from Amazon marketplace pay close attention to the sellers rating. I'd avoid anyone with less than 98% positive, and 4.8 stars. Read their recent feedback - do they have things like 'better than described in the comments?' Check their profile - are they a small family run book shop? I could go on- I think I'll have to write a whole post about this!

I just wanted to let you know that you can get good quality bargains from Amazon - you just have to know how to look for them!

Scribacchina said...

Thanks for posting about it, I was going to use Amazon (by default) for that book but now I'll think better of it. Still, for those of us living in Europe, Powell's international shipping costs are awful. I usually order from Europe-based sellers ( being the most affordable), but for those difficult to find books, is still cheaper for me.
I wonder if any of you has ever used, they seem to have an agreement with BookCrossing, but I never heard of them before...

tanabata said...

Well, if I ever live in the US someday, I'll check them out. :)

Scribbacchina - If you haven't yet, try The Book Depository. They ship from the UK and have free worldwide shipping!

Madeleine said...

Powell it is from now on! I have had it with amazon and their slow deliveries and high shipping fee!

Thank-you for the pic, I love to look at pics of books :D

bethany said...

Ali- Yes, you are so right, pretty much anything can be purchased from Powell's that is bought on Amazon.
Thanks so much!! Yes, ahhh....I am now craving that city of books :)

Amy- I love Indiespensible !! I personally love it because it contains all the cool events that I get to drool over and beg my husband if I can go to :)

farmlanebooks- Oh, in no way was I saying that all sellers on Amazon are bad, or even most. I just was raving about how much better of an experience I had with Powell's Books. I loved how fast it was, and how easy and fun the results came!
If you are ever in the US you'll have to come see it! :)

I have gotten high quality books on Amazon- but so far my experience with Powell's is by far superior all around.

Scribacchina- I remember horrid shipping fees when I lived in Spain. It makes sense that you'd not want to pay outrageous shipping costs. I know that it does cost an arm and a leg though to ship to my parents,even a little book I sent my dad last year was $13.00 for shipping! No fun.

tanabata- Oh, you'll love it! Thanks so much for that link! If I ever move back to Spain I will cry buckets to not have access to all the resources that I am now used to here. I will make sure I keep that link tucked away. Thank you.

Madeleine- YAY! You will love it! At least I do, but I think that is pretty obvious.

I too love book pictures that people post...they always make me drool. :)

Jeane said...

I love Powell's. The books are always great- and when they're not they fix it right away. I bought an expensive old first-edition book from them a month and half ago, then went to read it and the last two pages were torn out! I no longer had the receipt so I thought I couldn't return it but I just emailed about what happened and they refunded my money and said keep the book, or give it away, or recycle (I'm keeping until I can find a replacement copy).

I'm also really impressed how they package the books- shrink wrapped to a cardboard piece that fits the box snugly. No shifting around.

I've sold books to them as well. It takes a LONG time for them to get processed, and if the books you send aren't in fabulous condition they'll get rejected- and not returned. So take care if you decide to sell them books.

Janssen said...

oh man, I so want to go visit Powell's. Will have to check out the online version sometime soon!

Elizabeth said...

Okay, okay, I'll check out Powell's. Because, obviously, I NEED to buy more books! =)

Anonymous said...

i love bookstores that cater to readers! also, i read a few of the books you received--good choices. :)

Diane said...

WOW>> thanks for the education on Powells books. I've been an avid Amazon supporter, but may give Powells a try. BTW, I loved the pictures of all your books and the beautiful cat too!

Ramya said...

I spy White Tiger and In the Convent of Little Flowers! I loved loved both the books.. I read them in January and still can't stop recommending them to everyone I know!

Can't wait to read your reviews of these books!

Jeanette said...

I lived in Portland for a few years and loved taking the train downtown to visit Powell's. I always bought way too many books to haul home on the train. Since moving across the country I have really missed shopping at Powell's. I have ordered from them a few times but have found they are pretty slow. I placed an order on the 9th that still has not shipped. :-( I am eager to receive my books!
There are some good independents in my area that I try to shop at but when I can't find what I want there the first place I look is Powell's.

Literary Feline said...

Bethany, I just made my first purchase from Powell's and have to say how impressed I was! I made a little mistake when ordering online and had to telephone them. Someone answered right away (no recording and no having to wait on hold!). The woman I spoke with was very helpful and friendly.

Thanks for convincing me to give them a try.