|Inside the phone booth.|
1) LifeWay This Christian bookstore chain is a dangerous place for me to visit on days when my self-control is weak. I love the inspirational historical fiction, fantasy, personal growth, and Bible study books found there.
Pros: Sells new books, which means more money for authors (who, for the most part, make a lot less than most people realize). Supports brick-and-mortar stores, keeping Amazon.com from taking over the world. You can take the books home with you.
Cons: Books can be more expensive (though LifeWay does put out coupons frequently). They don't always have the book you want in stock. They don't carry general market books and don't have the huge range of inspirational books as do internet retailers, and so have a smaller selection.
2) Friends of the Library Bookstore This fabulous used bookstore is located at the local library and its proceeds benefit the library. People donate their used books, movies, and CDs. You sometimes find a book with a "This book belongs to" stamp listing someone you know, which is kind of fun and odd at the same time.
Pros: It's cheaper than a traditional bookstore or even many used bookstores. It supports the library and helps keep Amazon.com from taking over the world. It's smaller than Barnes and Noble so you can browse the entire place. This and the the fact that you have a unique selection of books (bought and donated by a large, diverse crowd) means you're exposed to books you might never have seen before--older books you wouldn't find in the typical bookstore, books on topics you might never think to search for, and even books from other countries. You can take the book home with you.
Cons: Chances are they don't have that new release you want. Resell doesn't profit the author directly, though it could lead the reader to buy the author's other books later.
The thrift store is another great place with the same pros (except it supports other causes than the library) and cons.
3) Amazon.com The gigantic online retailer where you can find just about anything.
Pros: You can find just about anything there. Competitive prices and free shipping on orders over a certain price. Authors may get money from the sell of new books (or they may not as the result of buyers buying used books or as the result of the recent third-party seller scandal).
Cons: You need to have an idea of what you want. Browsing isn't quite the same as in a brick-and-mortar store. You can't take the book home with you, and overnight shipping is expensive. The amazon.com and authors/publishers relationship is the epitome of a love-hate relationship. They opened the way for indie authors and publishers (and thus their authors) sell a large proportion of books through amazon.com; however, for various reasons, publishers have good cause to dislike amazon.com (and sue them). For these reasons, I encourage people to buy from brick-and-mortar stores as well as from amazon.
So what are your book-buying habits?