coupon at Borders/Waldenbooks and review of a Piccadilly notebook

Borders/Waldenbooks has a coupon promotion going on right now - $5 coupon off a minimum $5 purchase. Every time you shop you get another coupon. Limit one coupon per person per day. So, every day for the promotion so far (12/26-1/11) I've stopped at my local Waldenbooks to shop, and brought dd15 along with me so she can be my front for a second purchase each day. There are lots of things on sale, many for $4.99. For the first few days I bought bags of Ghirardelli chocolates - large bags on sale for $4.99. Add a 49 cent truffle and you've hit just over the $5 minimum. Total cost with tax, $.51.

Today I figured I didn't need any more chocolates (all late Christmas gifts have been given away lol) so I moved into the notebook section. I found a Moleskine-like notebook from a company called Piccadilly. They are clearly trying to move into the Moleskine market at a lower price point so I figured why not try them out. The medium sized book (5x8 1/2) is on sale for, you guessed it, $4.99. Got my truffle for the day and hit the coupon minimum again. The book has a black paper covered hard cover, an elastic band to hold it closed, an expandable pocket inside the back cover, and a fabric ribbon bookmark. Sound familiar? The paper has a very smooth feel. My fountain pen tends to smear a little more than in the Moleskine. The weight of the paper is very similar to Moleskine. The cover is slightly thinner than the Moleskine but still has a sturdy feel. I like it. Especially since it is free with the coupon. There is a smaller version too for $3.99, might have to buy a pen to hit the coupon minimum. My goal is to stay as close to $5 as possible.

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Using the small

I picked some of these up before Christmas, since they were so cheap. I've been using a small one in my bag as my thought-catcher for a few weeks now, and it has held up very well.

I find that the front of the pages is a little smoother to write on than the back side, but it's still a nice paper. I've not had any bleeding issues using either a Shaeffer fountain pen with Shaeffer ink, a Levenger fountain pen with Levenger ink, nor a Dr. Grip rollerball gel pen. The darker inks leave a faint shadow on the reverse of the paper, but not enough to bother me and I'm usually very particular about that.

The cover has softened somewhat, making it somewhere between a Moleskine and the new softcover Moleskine, but it doesn't look bad at all. It appears to be holding up as well as the pocket Moleskine riding around in the same bag (the one I always carry - it has my knitting notes).

Overall, I've been pleased with it.

Sure wish I'd known about the Borders $5 coupon, though! Oops! Thanks for the heads-up!

Coupon still going - some Waldenbooks closing

So far dd and I have used $120 worth of $5 coupons and paid about $15. I'm sticking to keeping as close to $5 as possible, dd has a harder time with it though and purchased some more expensive books (in the $7 range before coupon). We heard today that our local Waldenbooks is closing at the end of January. Our local Waldenbooks is closing at the end of January so everything in the store is going on even deeper sale. It's either 85 or 86 Waldenbook stores that are closing. It stinks because that is the only bookstore in our entire small city. I don't count the Christian bookstore that sells 100 kinds of bibles and related materials.

It seems there's a certain disconnect in thinking going on

when in one post you celebrate that you've managed to get $105 worth of free merchandise from your local bookstore, and just a couple of sentences later mourn that the store is going out of business.

Presumably because they aren't making enough money.

Note: I'm not saying you did anything wrong, it's just rather striking. Whoever devised the promotion was probably hoping that people would use the $5 off coupon to buy a $24.99 best seller, something like that, so they'd at least be making a little profit.

From what I've read, the entire business of book publishing is in major trouble. It's not just the retail vendors losing money -- it's everyone up the chain all the way to the author.

It used to be that the resale of books was a relatively rare thing. Sure, there were used bookstores, but then it was a matter of buying what your local store happened to have in stock. If you wanted the latest Grisham or Steele or Cusler or Paretsky, well, you either had to hunt for a long time OR you bought a new copy.

Now, with Amazon and and ABE and their ilk, it's hugely easy to find a used copy of pretty much any book. A few minutes clicking, and the book shows up in your mailbox in about a week. And then, once you've read it, you can turn around and resell it just as easily again. Which is great for you, but near enough each book resold is one less 'new' copy sold.

And the money from the 'new' copies is what goes to pay the author and editor and publisher and printer and bookstore and everyone else involved in creating the book. None of them get a single cent from the used sales.

Despite knowing that, I still use at least weekly. Like everyone else, my funds are finite. Let's see -- I can pay $25 for the just released book at B&N, or I can wait about three weeks and get it and maybe three more from for the same $25.

I don't know how this situation can be fixed.

Libraries, too

We got used to borrowing nearly all our media (DVD, videos, books, magazines) during the several years we were saving up to buy a house. It is very rare for us to purchase any book or movie new. As a natural spendthrift turned frugal zealot, I can't imagine buying all those books at all any more, used or otherwise. I don't know how authors and publishers survive with libraries, but somehow they did for decades. What is different about using resellers? I have been wondering this for years!

Now that we're in a "recession", this is the same song that every TV reporter sings: "We all need to buckle our belts a few notches tighter, here's some money saving tips! Now, get out there and SPEND to bring back our retailers!"

Well which is it? How does one do both at once?

I would feel bad except

that I have bought almost all my purchased books there for the past ten years. And, almost all of the stuff I'm buying will be stripped and put in the trash at the end. I did a lot of my birthday/holiday shopping there over the years too. The store manager had a feeling that the end was coming in the next month or so and made sure that regular customers knew about the coupon deal early. Mostly I special ordered work/research stuff from them as I use the library for popular books, magazines, dvd's and cd's. All employees at our state agency are being furloughed 20% for the next six months and we are the most frequent shoppers at the bookstore.

I don't know the solution either. I spend a lot of money on work related books that don't make much profit for publishers because they have limited distribution but very little on the mass marketed stuff that takes of 99% of store shelves.

Are you sure about Border's ?

I bought a calendar at my local Border's for $7.50 and got no such coupon. I got other coupons, but not the one you describe.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Yup, I'm sure.

But each store got one case of coupons so if you have a more popular store the coupons may be gone at your local store. Our store has very slow traffic so hasn't gone through their coupons yet.

Moleskine mini-dis

I find Moleskine books too hard and heavy. I'm still using a 'Markings by Gibson' book for phone and meeting notes for over a year. It has a shiny leather cover which flexes a bit and is lighter than Moleskines. All at a nice $aving$ too. Long live the competitors.