Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BAM goes BOOM -- and the lying SOBs deserve it

Books-A-Million (BAM) claims to be the third largest book retailer in the USA (after Barnes & Noble and Borders, and ignoring Amazon.com). It sells online at http://www.booksamillion.com/ and operates over 200 stores in 23 states, mostly in the Midwest and Southeast and the District of Columbia. The company was founded in 1917 as a newsstand in Alabama.
  • Its annual sales decreased from 2007 to 2008, and from 2008 to 2009, and from 2009 to 2010.
  • Fiscal years end on 1/31 of the following year. For the year ended 1/31/11, sales fell 2.7%, to $495 million, and net income dropped 35.5%, to $8.9 million.The company could earn more from a savings account -- but it did better than Borders.
  • Same store sales fell 4.9% in the year.
  • The company recently started selling the Nook eBook reader -- developed by competitor B&N.
I have never been to a BAM store and can’t comment on their physical environments.

The book listings on the BAM website show that there is absolutely no reason to buy from BAM unless you have no other choice.

BAM’s web prices are higher than other online booksellers’ prices. BAM uses phony, inflated, “retail prices” and then offers alleged discount club prices that bring the purchase price to just a few pennies below the cover price. BAM prices are typically a few bucks higher than Amazon, B&N or Target.com.

  • To make it even worse, shipping takes much longer than with other online sellers. BAM wants two to three days to process an order and then four to ten business days for free shipping. They say the total time from ordering a book to receiving a book could be six to thirteen business days.
  • One of my books has a $19.95 cover price. Amazon and B&N usually sell it for $17.95. BAM falsely claims that the “retail price” is “$21.95 and the “club price” is $19.75.They state that club members will “Save 10%.” In reality, club members will save 20 cents from the list price -- a whopping ONE PERCENT. They say it “usually ships in 5-15 days,” while competitors ship within 24 hours.
  • This is not an isolated incident. Another book of mine has a $29.95 cover price and is frequently discounted to $26.95. BAM claims the “retail price” is $32.95 and “online price” is also $32.95. The “club price” is $29.65 -- you save ONE PERCENT.
Stay away!

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