Most Canadians who browse in bookstores know that deep technical books are rarely found at Coles or Chapters stores. I presume that this is true in most countries.... regardless of the bookstore's name. So where do you find books that support IBM products and technology, such as DB2? Online bookstores, of course.
Canada has two primary choices: amazon.ca and chapters.indigo.ca. Both online stores offer discounted prices, free or low cost shipping, and a very wide selection. I want to tell you about something I learned about amazon.ca this morning.
Apparently for a large number of titles, amazon.ca... and perhaps other online sites, tend to list the title and its details, but will not have them in stock UNLESS there is an order. There will be a message saying that the book will ship in 4-6 weeks. I've had many people tell me that they want one of the books for DB2, but cannot wait 4-6 weeks for delivery, so they look for a different way to get the book. Sounds like CATCH-22... a book must be ordered before it is stocked, but listed as "out of stock", who will order the title?
I don't have confirmation that the same policy is in place for chapters.indigo.ca, but I suspect that it is. In a way I don't blame the buyers at these bookstores as there are thousands of new titles every month, so which books should you stock? Which ones will sell? Not an easy decision, I'm sure. I guess I could place an order at these sites just to get the books I care about stocked....
The other interesting thing happening in Canada right now is that our dollar is at par with the US dollar. Canadians are used to seeing two prices on the backs of all books... a Canadian price and an American price. These prices are set when the book is first published, but rarely change when the currency fluctuates. Again, a difficult thing to do. As an example, the Understanding DB2 9 Security book has a price of $49.99 US and $61.99 Canadian! What a huge difference! What to do???
Well, you could order the book from amazon.com, but I'm not sure what the shipping charges would be... or if this is even allowed given that there is a Canadian version of amazon. If you live near a border or plan to travel to the US, you could buy when you are there.... a minimum of a $12 difference can be worth it. Another idea that someone mentioned to me is to use US$ at a Canadian store. Most large stores here accept both currencies and offer an exchange depending on the current exchange rate. But... if we are in Canada, I think the store would still charge the Canadian price regardless of the currency used.... so you'd still be paying the inflated price.
Let me know if you have any experience with these dilemmas... I'd like to know what your suggestions are.