Sunday, December 13, 2009

More holiday gift suggestions

First suggestion:

If it's a book or video, and if it's libertarian or related to libertarianism, check Laissez Faire Books before buying it elsewhere. Not only will you be supporting a movement institution, but there's a pretty good chance you'll save money.

Here's an article (authorship unattributed) I'm stealing from Winter 2009 edition of Laissez Faire! (a combination Laissez Faire Books catalog / ISIL news magazine, which you can subscribe to for free at the LFB site):

The Laissez Faire Difference

Can Laissez Faire compete in a world of giants? We mean can Laissez Faire Books compete in a world dominated by a large online book service? Yes, not only can we compete but the Laissez Faire difference means our customers actually save.

To test the different between Laissez Faire and the main online presence, we actually checked the price of every single book in this catalogue to see what our big competitor is offering. What we found surprised even us, and we knew we were better.

Ther are almost 150 different products for sale in this catalogue, all promoting the ideals of liberty and limited government. What we first discovered was that 27% of the products we list here simply are not stocked by our competitor. That's one out of four of the items we list here. That's not surprising. Our passion is liberty and we want to promote it, so we go out of our way to carry unique, quality items that the big guys just don't care about.

When we looks at the products that are carried by Laissez Faire and by our competitor, we discovered that our price was lower 67% of the time. The big competitor, who brags about how cheap they are, was actually more expensive two-thirds of the time. Out of all the titles we list in this catalogue, they had lower prices only 18% of the time.

More important is how prices compared when it comes to the bottom line. Remember our competitor simply doesn't stock 27% of the products we list here.

We added up what it would cost if you purchased every book and DVD in this catalogue that we both stock. If you bought them from our competitor, you would pay $160.82 more than if you bought them from us. Of the titles that they bother to stock, they were, on average, $1.87 per title more expensive.

With them you can place orders on line, with us too. But you can also call us directly and get personal answers to your questions. Our staff can help you with your choice in books; their staff can't, if you manage to speak to them. We can offer personalized shipping. You tell us what you need and we will go out of our way to help you. They tell you what they offer and that's that. We ask you what you want and do our best to give it to you.

With us, you can order by phone, with them you can't. We take payments by check, they don't. We will accept money orders, they won't.

But there is another difference as well. All income from sales of Laissez Faire titles funds our educational efforts to spread the message of liberty. We actually publish important works on liberty, our competitor doesn't. We provide scholarships so students can attend libertarian conferences and we sponsor libertarian events.

Laissez Faire Books helps supply low-cost books to libertarian institutions that work with college students, helping them understand the ideas of freedom.

We carry these books because we believe in these ideas. Our goal isn't just making a profit, as nice as that would be. Our goal is freedom in our time. Can they say that?

[Disclosure] I am not being paid by ISIL, or anyone else, to promote LFB. As a matter of fact, I'm no longer being paid by ISIL for anything at all, and could even reasonably assert that part of the reason I'm no longer being paid by them is that they decided it was more important to revive Laissez Faire Books than it was to continue funding Freedom News Daily, which I and the staff of Rational Review News Digest now publish on ISIL's behalf for no direct compensation (we do get to flog our ads to, and push our fundraisers with, FND's readers, which is a valuable consideration). As far as I can tell, the new incarnation of LFB doesn't even have an affiliate program.

So, if you're looking for an immediate personal profit motive on my part, no dice. I've been a fan of LFB for a long time now, except for a short period of puritanism under the previous management (they rejected Vin Suprynowicz's The Black Arrow for "gratuitous sex" which wasn't gratuitous at all and which was in fact far more meaningful in the story's context than Ayn Rand's rape fantasies were in her novels ... LFB didn't stop carrying Rand's stuff, of course). The movement needs a bookstore of its own (as the article notes, LFB carries some items which are difficult to find at the online equivalent of the "big box"), and LFB has the best and longest history of filling that role. So please patronize them.[End Disclosure]

Second Suggestion:

If you can't find it at LFB, and are interested in supporting what I do at no additional cost to yourself, check out my Amazon "aStore" (and from there, if you continue shopping at Amazon to find something I don't list, I'm pretty sure I still get a commission). Here are direct links to their book and computer "departments" for your convenience as well:

I'm sure you already know about Amazon.Com: Huge selection, good prices, etc. You're probably going to find what you're looking for there. If you do so through my link, I make a commission at, to repeat myself, no additional cost to you. It's usually not a lot of money -- I rack up enough commission to grab a $10 Amazon gift certificate two or three times a year on average. This is enough (barely) to keep me out of New Book Deprivation Syndrome seizure territory.

So: Check LFB, then hit Amazon. It's better than fighting the crowds at the meatspace stores!

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