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Old 02-12-2013, 07:25 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
There's nothing wrong with browsing - provided you then buy at that store if you like the product. What's being objected to is using the store to examine the goods, and THEN buying the products elsewhere. That's just... wrong.
What if you browse, like the product, flick to the back and see the outrageous pricetag?

I don't mind supporting local shops, what I have an issue with is being charged well above what can be bought elsewhere (in some cases 150% markup), then get served by a pimple-faced kid with bad attitude treating you like you're an inconvenience to his mobile phone sms sending time.

A few weeks ago I bought the latest Wheel of Time. Was $39.95 in the local bookstore. Walked one block away to KMart and there is was, $21.99, same copy.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:55 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by TGS View Post
This is a request to those who have asserted that browsing without buying has some kind of ethical value: can you tell me what normative ethical positions you are relying on to make this assertion?
I've explained the direct financial cost to stores under some circumstances. (There's also a direct financial cost to employees who work on commission, too.)
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:00 PM   #123
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I do browse in bookstores and occasionally buy a book, but as a present for someone, not for myself.
I pretty much exclusively buy novels in an ebook format. often as I already know the author as I may have read his books or on recommendation or I have read a free preview book by the author online.
On more than one occasion I have got the first book free as a a way of pulling me in, liked it and bought the rest of the series.

Personally I don't get much out of browsing books in bookstores anyway and never had really,
How can you seriously tell what a book is gonna be like by flipping through a few pages anyway?
The online experience is much better for me.

As long as I avoid the big authors who usually charge more than it costs for the pbook, I will usually get freebies and lots of review/synopsis info etc and it'll be a lot cheaper. I'm used to pay between 99 cents and a few dollars for a book by a self published author now. No way I'm paying $15+ for a book from a big name author.

I DO buy pbook gaming books (for tabletop RPGs) and I make an effort to goto our local bricks and mortar gaming store. He's friendly, accommodating, knowledgeable of his products and I'm happy to pay a bit over the odds vs online for that.
If I can't get it from there (for example self published independent POD books) Often I an get the PDF for free (legally) and if I like it pay for the pbook version of an RPG to be printed and sent to me.
You can't do that in a bricks and mortar bookstore.

Personally if a bricks and mortar bookstore tried to charge me to browse, I would leave and never come back and tell everyone I knew about their practice as well in disgust.

If bricks and mortar bookstores can't adapt then good riddance, I won't miss them.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:00 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
We'll have to agree to disagree on whether or not morality is merely a matter of opinion; there are certainly a multitude of philosophers that would disagree with such a gross oversimplification. It might be someone's opinion that this is unethical, but not all opinions deserve equal weight.
Yeah. For most people, their own opinion deserves more weight than opinions they disagree with.

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And honestly, I just don't understand how it could be reasonable to conclude that it's unethical for a customer to use all of the information available to make an informed choice. The stores in your example made the choice to do retail in the way you describe; a customer not buying, for whatever reason is the cost of doing business that comes with that choice. These businesses should be pricing their products to take that into account, and if they can't then they fail which is sad but not the fault of consumers who made an informed business decision to buy from someone else.
I said I don't really agree with the position. But it's not an unreasonable or irrational one, as has bee claimed. It costs them money, directly. If the employees work on commission, it costs them money, directly, as well. There's nothing unreasonable about a busienss trying to cut their operating costs. (Note I've also said that those reasonable objections obviously don't apply to book stores.)

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Full disclosure and a Question for you: I go to the local bookstore all the time and use a smartphone app to scan UPCs on the back of books to quickly get Amazon.com reviews; if I like the book I'll typically buy it at the store or grab an ebook from Kobo. Have I acted unethically by wasting Amazon's bandwidth when I had no intention of buying from them? Or is it only immoral when we want to protect a physical bookstore's business model?
Again, I don't agree with the position that it's unethical, but if one did, I would guess that using Amazon's bandwidth would be unethical, too, but to a far lesser degree, since the bandwidth you use literally costs too little to measure, where wasting a salesman's time in, say, an electronics store can cost the store hudnreds of dollars (or more) in business, and the salesman a significant percentage of tha in commission.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:03 PM   #125
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I think the real problem with bookstores these days is that the ratio of product to floor space has gone way down.
No, that's are response to declining sales of books. If you are running a store, and you can sell $100/square foot of floor space in books, or $200/square foot of floor space in something else, it's not a touch decision.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:25 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by danskmacabre View Post
Personally I don't get much out of browsing books in bookstores anyway and never had really,
How can you seriously tell what a book is gonna be like by flipping through a few pages anyway?
The online experience is much better for me.
I don't understand this. How is it better to browse in a setting where you can't tell the length of what you're buying and often don't have access to even a few pages to flip through, and if you do, they're the first few pages; no flipping to the middle of a nonfic book and seeing if their charts are useful to you?

Quote:
I DO buy pbook gaming books (for tabletop RPGs) and I make an effort to goto our local bricks and mortar gaming store. He's friendly, accommodating, knowledgeable of his products and I'm happy to pay a bit over the odds vs online for that.
I mostly buy PDF gaming books these days. If I want a paper copy for the charts and to share with other gamers, I'll print them out myself; I no longer prefer reading the book on paper.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:57 PM   #127
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I can understand that businesses are in business to make money, but why should I have to pay just to look around and see if there is something I want to purchase? Sometimes when I go shopping I don't find anything I want to buy at that time. Nothing grabs my interest, so why should I have to pay a charge just to get in to see if there is something I want to buy?
Sometimes I go into a bookstore looking for something specific and they don't have it. So I leave. I'm not paying a fee to find out what I want is not available.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:59 PM   #128
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They can shove that idea where the sun does not shine. I am not paying to browse at any store, period!
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:10 PM   #129
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I used to buy books at Waldenbooks because I was able to get 15% off science fiction and fantasy books if I bought $15 or more in books. That was not a problem and I did so. I had a card they gave out way back when that allowed this discount. I didn't have to pay a yearly fee.

One of the problems with B&N is that to get a discount, I have to pay up front. No thanks.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:19 PM   #130
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I don't understand this. How is it better to browse in a setting where you can't tell the length of what you're buying and often don't have access to even a few pages to flip through,
and if you do, they're the first few pages; no flipping to the middle of a nonfic book and seeing if their charts are useful to you?
When considering buying an ebook, all online ebook retailers I know of show you how many pages there are in an ebook.
I don't often buy non-fiction books, but I pretty much know what I want before I buy as it's usually a programming reference book or something like that, which comes recommended by a friend, associate or professional on the subject.
Barring that, there's plenty of sites online that will give detailed reviews and extracts of pretty much any book you care to read.




Quote:
I mostly buy PDF gaming books these days. If I want a paper copy for the charts and to share with other gamers, I'll print them out myself; I no longer prefer reading the book on paper.
I find things faster by flipping through a book. PDFs are great, but there's nothing like just knowing where in a gaming book a rule or whatever is.
The difference between that and a PDF where if you flip fast through a PDF it has to be loaded into memory is an unnecessary delay.

Still, PDFs are great for reviewing whether I WANT to buy an RPG or game or whatever. But if I like it I will definitely want to buy a physical copy.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:21 PM   #131
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Yeah. For most people, their own opinion deserves more weight than opinions they disagree with....

...Again, I don't agree with the position that it's unethical, but if one did, I would guess that using Amazon's bandwidth would be unethical, too, but to a far lesser degree, since the bandwidth you use literally costs too little to measure, where wasting a salesman's time in, say, an electronics store can cost the store hudnreds of dollars (or more) in business, and the salesman a significant percentage of tha in commission.
An opinion can have less weight than another because it is based on vague opinions rather than facts, or can have less weight because it is plain bonkers. Not all opinions are equal, and it's irrelevant if it's my opinion or someone else's. If someone has the opinion that 2+5 is 4, that opinion should probably get less weight than the opinion that the answer is 7.

But in your response to my hypothetical, I guess that person would also say it's less unethical if you browse a store but don't talk to any salespersons, or if you're the only one in the store so the possibility of interfering with a potential sale is nil.

I don't know, if that person's opinion leads to arbitrary results when applied to a slightly tweaked scenario, maybe their opinion about the ethics of the original situation is faulty and should be given less weight.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:01 PM   #132
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What a stupid idea dumb.....
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:10 PM   #133
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I find things faster by flipping through a book. PDFs are great, but there's nothing like just knowing where in a gaming book a rule or whatever is.
I try to get technical reference books in electronic (usually PDF) whenever possible, because ctrl+F [keyword] is a vastly superior way to find that formula I need. Combine that with a linked table of contents, and I'm in reference heaven.

I hate flipping through physical pages looking oh so slowly for things now.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:24 PM   #134
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Let me try to summarize the situation as I see it:
Vendors invest in bricks-and-mortar stores and employ sales staff in the hopes of making a sale. If a shopper visits the store and takes advantage of these services he then has a moral obligation to support the store. It's not written down anywhere; let your conscience be your guide.

If he doesn't see anything he likes and doesn't buy anything then that's fine; c'est la vie. But, if having thus determined what he wants he then deliberately leaves the store and buys it online because it's cheaper then that's just not right. He's taken advantage of the vendor - essentially gotten something for nothing. If everyone did that there would be no stores.

The reason why this differs from traditional "comparison shopping" is the vast difference in the cost of operating a B&M store vs. an online store. This is something new, as a result of digital technology, and that's why traditional retail models are being undermined.
Your argument seems to be that the moral value of browsing and not buying comes from the fact that if he browses and he wants the book, he has a moral obligation to buy. That's just circular - he's doing a wrong thing because the thing he is doing is wrong. Even the suggestion that if everyone did it then there would be no book stores does not identify wherein the moral character of browsing without buying lies. What makes it a moral question?
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:28 PM   #135
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I've explained the direct financial cost to stores under some circumstances. (There's also a direct financial cost to employees who work on commission, too.)
What you seem to be pointing to here is the possible economic impact of browsing but not buying. You haven't provided an argument to show that it's an ethical issue.
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