Once launched, I abandoned — I went five years between orders. Lately I’ve been noticing that doesn’t always have better selection (i.e., items actually in stock) or lower prices: sometimes discounts a book more, sometimes does. It varies book by book (or, more to the point, publisher by publisher).

Last week I decided to run an experiment. I ordered about $100 worth of books from each store, assigning each book to the store that either had it in stock or had it for less, to see how they would handle the order. The orders were made 10 minutes apart on the evening of Monday, February 18. Everything was listed as in stock; I chose free shipping in both cases.

I received shipping confirmation from on Tuesday afternoon, and received the package on Thursday. Shipping confirmation for the order came at 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning; the package didn’t turn up until the following Monday. Two working days or four days, depending on how you count things. Or, three days vs. a week. Interesting that there would be that much of a difference: enough to be significant, but not enough to be important, if you follow me.