February 10, 2009

A Word about Amazon


No, not that Amazon, silly!

The other Amazon -- you know, the website and those links I've got over there on the side.

See the deal is, if you click on them and buy the music, the ipod, the book etc. through my link (not some other time, but right after following the link) I make a teeny, tiny, teensy commission. It's peanuts really, but it does get credited to my Amazon account where I can then apply it towards the purchase of... books!

One thing I didn't account for when moving to Brazil is how very hard (nearly impossible) it is to find books in English - and I'm not talking about dimestore romances you can get at the airports. But real books. The ones I read the reviews of every week and want to read. The ones people blog about. The ones that are making the rounds and winning the awards and even some surprise discovery that no one is talking about. Oh god, how I loved Amazon when we lived in the US. I would hear about a book, make a few clicks and “poof,” a few days later it would appear. And Borders. Don't even get me started. Going back to the States, I could actually camp out the whole time in a Borders (or a B&N, but not so much) and consider it a perfect vacation.

The three times I've been back, I have returned to Brazil with enormous, heavy suitcases filled with books (and other random things like basmati rice and a Coleman lantern - it's amazing customs has never questioned me.)

I know that in Rio and São Paulo there are some bookstores that sell a small selection of literatura estrangeira but with the shipping, import fee and then an additional 80% store mark-up, I can't really bring myself to spend the money. I mean, would you fork out $40 USD on a paperback copy of The Corrections? Yeah, me neither (especially because I hated it.)

Anyway, so where's this all going you ask? Well, Amazon will ship to Brazil (it may take 2 months, but it gets here.) However, when you add on the shipping cost and the small import fee, it makes a reading list quite an expensive endeavor to pursue.

So if you were already by chance planning on buying something over there on the right, doing it through one of my links would be an oh,-so-very-appreciated contribution to one lone bookworm stranded in South America. (thanks!)

6 comments:

Corinne said...

Cool idea about the Amazon commission. As an academic, you can imagine I need a lot of books. Here are some of the things I do: use M-bag mailings. When I go to the US I usually get a lot of books (new and used) and rather than use my suitcase, I send them M-bag, which takes about 2 months, but is the cheapest mailing there is, and it is only for books and magazines. I often buy from Amazon, but the shipping is really dreadful. I have two other options: send my purchases to someone else stateside and have them send the books M-bag, or I have used a really good Brazilian on-line bookstore: livrariaculture.com.br

They have many titles in English and even with the mark-up, it is often cheaper (and faster) than Amazon, when you factor in their shipping charge. I found this out when I wanted the last Harry Potter book, about R$20 cheaper from Livraria Cultura. They send things out really fast when they have it in stock. I once ordered a book at 9am and it was couriered to my house by 7pm the same night!

lovelydharma said...

Thanks for the tips! I didn't know about the M-bag. I knew there was some sort of book rate but I wasn't aware how it worked.
I'll check out the livrariaculture also. That's I've browsed them before, but never looked for English titles.
Really, I SHOULD just start reading more in Portuguese... I'll just put
Guimaraes Rosa on the top of my list!

Danielle said...

maybe this will help

http://www.mightybargainhunter.com/2009/02/08/some-great-sources-for-free-audiobooks/

Danielle said...

I've been playing on there, and the project guttenberg site has the text files, too! I know that reading a book on the comp isn't as fun, but it's better than nothing. I just got Ulysses!

lovelydharma said...

Thanks for the link Danielle! I listen to a lot of podcasts so I haven't really gotten into audio books because my listening time often gets eaten up by favorite radio shows. But I"ll have to give it a try - and that's great about the text files. Good luck with Ulysses! If you can get through that you'll be primed for Grande Sertão!

Laural Out Loud said...

The first time I was in Brasil it was for three weeks and I was desperate enough after finishing the few books I'd brought with me to pay $40 for a book in English! We scoured the city for a book in English and finally found one. ONE! It was some sort of romance, but it had over 500 pages so I shelled out the money. This time I brought ten books with me!