This may come as quite a surprise, but I haven't set foot into a bookstore for months. And the last time I did that was while on vacation in Orlando last December. I drifted through Waldenbooks just to breath in all the bookish goodness I won't find around here. Of course there are bookstores where I live, it's not as though I'd be living in a one-horse-town, but the big difference would be that I almost exclusively read books in English these days and while you will indeed find English books even in bookshops here, it's usually a pathetically small selection that sends me straight back into the arms of online shopping sites. And it's not just the variety that leaves something to be desired ...
So last week I went to the mall and decided to have a look around in one of the bigger chains of bookstores we have. They had just recently moved into a bigger location within the mall so I figured that bigger translates to better aka more books. You'll probably guess where I was heading - the aisle with the English books. Well, for starters, there was no aisle. There were solely two meters of shelfspace dedicated to books in the English language. Not more (or less) than I remember from the old location. Not easily giving up I started browsing. Just because there aren't many books doesn't mean those that are available would make me yawn, frown, or run away screaming. So imagine my surprise when I saw Dead Reckoning (Charlainne Harris) and Starcrossed (Josephine Angelini) - both brand new novels and much talked about on blogs. And definitely no shelf warmers.
Then I checked the price.
You know, it doesn't surprise me that people resort to online shopping these days. It's not only convenient, it also saves you a whole lot of money. I probably wouldn't complain if there was a difference of, say, 50 cent or maybe 1 Euro ... but those books cost almost double of what I'd have to pay at Amazon or The Book Depository. I mean, seriously? Who in their right mind would buy the books directly at a bookshop when they can save so much doing the same online?
Basically they can charge you whatever they want for imported foreign-language books, but it's a whole different thing with books published in the German language. They all cost the same, no matter where you buy them. Due to fixed book prices in many European countries (which obviously includes Austria and Germany) there is only one price. Period. The exact price that is printed on the back of the book is the price you'll pay. This might be surprising to those living in the UK or the US, because you don't have anything like this. And while I'm all for sales and promotions and hunting down the best price for anything, this is something you won't be able to do here. Bit of a shame, but at least I don't have to compare prices of a dozen different shops, online or not. If only I read more books in my mother language ... but that's a story for another day!