Vroman’s Snoozes and Loses therefor

Filed under: neat!,useless @ 17:48

I like Vroman’s. They’re not quite as massively chain like as Barnes and Noble or Borders, they make me feel like I’m shopping a bit more locally, and they put on pretty good events.

But this time they lost me.

A few weeks ago, I preordered a copy of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince from Vroman’s. It was thirty percent off sticker price instead of the forty percent that bigger chains could offer, but I was willing to pay the extra two or three bucks to shop at a store I actually liked. I asked if they were going to be open on midnight of the fifteenth (HBP coming out on July 16), and was told “I don’t know.” Fine, I thought. I’m sure they’ll be open.

I checked back today on their website and found out they were, indeed, opening early. One entire hour early at the blurry-eyed dawn of 8:00am. I should say that the relevant time scale for this event is on the order of hours, so a full third of a day later than I had expected is quite significant.

Upon discovering this horror and confirming that Barnes and Noble would definitely be open at midnight, I went directly to Vroman’s and cancelled my order. I mean, I plan on being finished with the book by eight o’clock in the morning, not purchasing it. So while Vroman’s is asleep on the morn of the sixteenth, Barnes and Noble and I will be lapping up the Harry Potter madness together, along with the rest of the Martin Miggses.


    Adam 05.25.2005 @ 01:22

    Vromans is good, but I prefer Borders, and I almost never go to Barnes & Noble. The thing that borders has over other bookstores, in my opinion:

    1) Cafe (currently being redone at the Borders on Lake). While B&N also has a cafe, Borders will let you sit there with an unpurchased book or magazine and actually *read* some of it while you drink your coffee. I’ve seen labmates there with stacks of books, sampling part of a chapter of each to decide which books to get. I believe that B&N’s policy is that you have to purchase the books before going into the cafe (at least, that’s what they have posted). Vroman’s: no cafe.

    2) Music/Movies. Some B&N stores have music, and perhaps even movies, but not all of them. But with Borders, you know that they’re going to have CDs and movies. Their movie prices aren’t the cheapest, but they make up for it in other ways (more on this later). Their CD prices are usually the same or cheaper than most other places (although Tower Records sometimes does a good job of competing for my hard earned money). The only stores that I’ve been to with bigger Jazz selections are Tower Records and a local music store in Knoxville, TN.

    3) Discounts, discounts, discounts. If you sign up for the Borders electronic newsletters, then you’ll receive coupons pretty much every month ranging from 10% off to 40% off (sometimes for specific items, sometimes for any item). There are also “Buy X, get the X+1th free” type deals pretty often. I recently purchased 4 cd’s on a 2-for-$22 deal (regular price would have been $18/CD). Using some liberal rounding, that’s something like 50% off! For good CDs!

    4) Vromans and B&N may have deals like this, but I believe that if Borders doesn’t have a particular item in stock (and it’s not a special-order-type item), then they will give it to you for free if it takes more than 7 days to ship from another store or one of their warehouses.

    Anywho, while I like the “local bookstore” type atmosphere of Vromans, I usually buy from Borders first (and Barnes & Noble last). One thing to check out at Vroman’s: From July to September, there will be jazz at Vromans every Sunday from 5pm-8pm. (Also during that time period, there is jazz every Friday from 6:30-9:30 at Paseo Colorado). Link: Pasadena Jazz Institute

    L'el 05.25.2005 @ 12:36

    Actually, Vroman’s does have a cafe, on the Colorado side. The drinks are good, but the sandwiches not so much. They also have a “buy before you enter” policy, but it is possible to bring your drink back inside the main part of the store and read on the stairs or wherever you find a spot.

    Right now, my eternal lifetime allegiance goes to whichever store can tell me where my car keys have disappeared to…

    rubes 12.01.2005 @ 13:27

    Yeah, Vromans does have a cafe, and it was also open at midnight for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. At least I hope it was, because I was there, along with many other Harry Potter fans.

    Also, Vromans isn’t a chain at all. It has three stores total: the main one on Colorado, the Gifts and Stationary store down the block, and the Hastings Ranch store. It’s still an independant, even if it’s a very large one.

    Anonymous 12.09.2008 @ 20:48

    barnes and nobles is king. period.

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