If I were to develop a designer fashion habit, there are no shortage of email-based and app-based shopping opportunities for me. A whole mess of designer deals are rounded up daily, sometimes twice-daily, by sites like Ideeli, Plundr, Daily Deals, and Daily Candy so if you take a look, suddenly, you – ok, I’ll be honest, ME – find yourself really really needing a strapless dress because it’s 60% off (and holy holy of miracles it is in your size and might possibly fit). The opportunity-buy is a terrible temptation.
I’m susceptible to deals in Target and oh Lordy, do I know it. I don’t go NEAR the $1 collection of stuff I don’t really need unless it’s car trip time and I need In-car activities. Hell, I don’t even go into the Dollar Stores near me. And if there was ever a big temptation with a cash register out front, it’s a dollar store. You go in for one thing, like party favors or something, and WHAM. You have spent a lot more than $1. Big Lots is like that too – a big neon orange temptation of evil goodness.
Yet I love me some coupons. I save coupons for grocery shopping like my grandmother did, minus the accordion file, and I feel a really sick sense of kickass when I get more than $10 off my grocery bill with a stack of coupons. I have up to six different grocery stores that I can choose from, and I have coupons for each one, plus the frequent-shopper card. I even think about re-subscribing to the Sunday newspaper ONLY for the coupon sections, which is just ridiculous.
The funny thing is, as much as I buy books, I don’t have a coupon fetish for books, which I buy almost as often as I buy food, nor do I jump on discounts.
I don’t easily fall for deals like that when it comes to books. I was never a Fictionwise Micropay person, where once upon a time, you could buy books for the 100% micro pay rebate and end up with many, many dollars to spend on books. I know folks who had a LOT of micro pay to spend when Fictionwise started to lose all the books worth having in its catalog. When there’s a buy one-get one 50% book deal at Borders, I don’t often use it. Clothing, shoes, and jewelry at 40-60% off, I will take a serious look. Books that are half off? I don’t really jump on that because usually the collection isn’t romance, or doesn’t contain books I want. A coupon for a certain percentage off a book usually starts with “buy one and get…” and I don’t often use them because they don’t feel like a real bargain to me, even though mathematically I am getting half off a book. I’m still paying full price for the other one – and that’s why I wasn’t a big MicroPay fan, either.
I think it’s partially because I seek out specific books to read and take recommendations from people at the moment or soon after the recommendation. But the coupons and the books I seek or am told about don’t often line up in the time-bargain continuum. I don’t always have a coupon when there’s a book I want to buy. I also think it is partially because I buy so many digital books, and there are hardly any coupons that apply to digital book purchases (Hi Agency Publishers. Thanks for that).
What I find utterly baffling about my own buying habits is that I am an impulse buyer – when I have a reason. If someone I trust recommends a book to me, I will download a sample or the whole book in seconds, before I forget what the title was (which I will, because I can’t remember titles to save my petard). I book shop wherever I am, if I have my phone or device with me. But I don’t have coupons for bookstores or retailers that I use and pay attention to regularly like grocery stores, department stores, and household goods stores. If I did have straight up X-Amount-Off coupons for books, they’d live in my wallet and I’d use them incessantly.
I was thinking about this because I do my grocery shopping on the weekend and, for me, books are a necessity. They aren’t a luxury good that I can be tempted to buy with a sizable discount, like expensive bags or shoes or clothing from labels that involve a lot of vowels and maybe an umlaut. But they aren’t a necessity that comes with a variety of coupon or discount options, the way my groceries do, either.
One of my teeth-gritting frustrations with the Agency agreement for ebooks is that it focuses on the people selling the books rather than the customers who are buying them – which is just ridiculously short sighted from my perspective, but then, I’m the person buying the books, after all. The terms of the Agency agreement also limit or eliminate whether any book seller can offer a discount on an ebook, which means no coupons good for any book I wish to grab in the near future.
I think the Amazon Prime program and the Barnes and Noble membership programs work very well – for paper books. (To my knowledge the BN membership discount doesn’t apply to ebooks, but please correct me if I am wrong or if that has changed recently). You subscribe to the program, and you get discounts or free shipping – or both. And I know that the BN members get coupons in the mail every now and again. I wonder if, with the changing methods of selling books, there will be coupons or membership programs for ebooks as well as paper books soon, and what types of programs would work for different readers.
Are you a coupon person? Do you use book coupons for paper or ebooks? What kind of discount or coupon would work really well for you for your book buying? If you could design a book coupon program, what would you want? Coupons that can be used at any bookstore on a specific book, or coupons that are bookstore-specific? What’s your ideal (and yet realistic!) coupon for a book?