Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Book Buying Saga Continues - Borders vs. Barnes & Noble - December 5, 2010

I had fully intended to vlog the new releases sometime this week. I did not vlog on Tuesday because I wanted to include the December 1st releases as well. December 1st was on Wednesday. Wednesday came along and I could not get all the new releases at Borders and was too lazy to go to Barnes & Noble.  I was informed by Borders that some of the books with December 1st release dates did not have official lay down dates so did not actually have to out on the 1st. My response was pretty much "so what." If you have the book, and the publisher says it has a release date of December 1st, put the book out. It's kind of simple really when you think about it. I know you are getting in tons of books this time of year, but Barnes & Noble had the books out on the 30th. I don't like buying books prior to release date so I did not buy them on the 30th. I should have gone back to Barnes & Noble on the 1st.

I decided to try a little experiment. I decided to request the books through the online reservation service at each bookstore. I requested the books at Borders on Friday. I should have put in my request to Barnes & Noble simultaneously but waited until Saturday when I thought it might be busier. You see I already knew how the experiment would turn out. Please note that I am only discussing the stores local to me. Your experience may vary of course.


The Spirit Eater by Rachel Aaron
Request12/3/2010 4:26 PM
Response12/4/2010 1:14 PM
Time20 hours 48 minutes

Christmas With A Vampire (Anthology)
Request12/3/10 4:33 PM
Response12/4/2010 1:13 PM
Time20 hours 40 minutes

Tempted by Fate by Kate Perry
Request12/3/2010 4:37 PM
Response12/4/2010 1:13 PM
Time20 hours 36 minutes

This is actually an improvement for Borders. I usually don't get a response to online book reservation requests. Unfortunately, the print does not work on the confirmation page so I had to copy and paste to keep a record of my request. Once a request is confirmed Borders will hold the book for 1 day.

I was in the store on Saturday morning prior to receiving the email responses and asked why it took so long to handle online requests? I was told that they were busy. Apparently I should not have asked the question. I did not speak to a manager about this, but I will. Good customer service is important to me. It should be important to Borders also. I shop there because in general the sales staff is nice and they have great coupons. I know that they are trying to improve things. I will keep shopping there because it's a lovely store and I want to give them a chance, but, perhaps, not on new release day.

Barnes & Noble

Christmas With A Vampire (Anthology)
Request12/4/10 2:03 PM
Response12/4/2010 2:40 PM
Time37 minutes

Tempted by Fate by Kate Perry
Request12/4/2010 2:05 PM
Response12/4/2010 2:40 PM
Time35 minutes

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
Request12/4/10 2:07 PM
Response12/4/2010 2:52 PM
Time45 minutes

When making my online requests to Barnes & Noble I had the option of requesting a text to my cell phone also. I checked yes and received the texts at approximately the same time the emails were sent. Barnes & Noble does say in it's "Pick Me Up" confirmation that a confirming email will in most cases show up in your inbox within an hour. They do warn that depending on the time of day it might take longer. They also let you know that if you make your request within an hour of closing, you will hear back the next day. Once your request is confirmed Barnes & Noble will hold the book for 3 days.

I did manage between the 2 stores to get most of the new release that I wanted - 17 books. I bought 13 of them at Barnes & Noble and 4 at Borders. If I could I'd buy more at Borders because of their exceptional Borders Rewards program. I was unable to get one book - John Scalzi's Agent to the Stars. I'll order that online.


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