Online bookstore rant (a comparative study of online bookstores)

After the emotional ordeal of yesterday (no, seriously, how do you like that? I have been a loyal member for about 9 years, never lost or damaged a single book, and they block my account without as much as saying hello, as if I were a delinquent teenager who pulls out pages to make joints), I decided to order books online (f*** you, Toronto Public Library). I assembled identical shopping carts on three major online bookstore websites, and the results were very interesting. (prices in CAN$) (prices in US$) (prices in CAN$)
Order cost 44.48 33.56 48.14 (with 10% iRewards discount)
Taxes 2.22 n/a 2.41
Shipping Free 16.96 Free
Total cost 46.70 50.52 50.55
Estimated shipping date Oct 20 – Nov 28 September 22-30 not indicated, but pretty much like next day, see here
Delivery time or date 2-3 business days October 1-16 3-9 business days

There are some very interesting questions that arise after perusing this table.

1. How come the books on, even with international shipping, cost less (considering the exchange rate) than free-delivered, loyalty-card-discounted books of a Canadian online store?

2. How come the delivery date of (crossing the border and all) is sooner than the shipping date on

3. Why does it take 6 to 8 week to ship 3 books? Do they deliver them to the assembling point in a dogsled? (Right, that would explain the date; they are probably waiting for the snow to make the roads passable for dogsleds).

4. What’s the use of telling your customers how long the delivery takes if you don’t tell them the shipping date (

Now I am facing a hard dilemma: shall I opt for the fastest delivery, lowest price, or choose Canadian?


6 Responses to “Online bookstore rant (a comparative study of online bookstores)”

  1. Spatula Says:

    Fuck ’em! Go for greatest service! Market free-for-all and may the best store win!

  2. Yay! « Tania Samsonova’s Blog Says:

    […] Tania Samsonova’s Blog Of Life, Universe and Everything « Online bookstore rant (a comparative study of online bookstores) […]

  3. Dmitry Says:

    Did you know that ships from a Canadian warehouse sometimes? The package arrives with Canadian stickers on it (and a US return address). That explains the speedy delivery. However, it doesn’t justify higher prices and longer delivery of Guess they’re really just managed separately with a single goal of gauging Canadian buyers ;]

  4. oryxandcrake Says:

    Dmitry – and they deliberately set up the delivery time at 8 weeks to make it more Canadian? LOL

  5. Dmitry Says:

    Of course? Why the rush, eh? ;]

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they have totally different supply channels though.

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