How do you choose what to buy from your local bookstore? Do you have a list, or just browse? What is the selection in your book store like? Do you find what you’re looking for? Do you feel pressured to buy the kind of books the store makes prominent?
You might be surprised to learn that I’m a completely unorganized book shopper. Going into a bookstore is akin to a big fishing expedition for me ~ I’m usually looking for something new by a favorite author, or perhaps for a really creative cover to catch my eye. I wander through the store, mocha latte in hand, soaking up the bookish atmosphere and feasting my eyes on the wonderful displays. I usually carry my Moleskine notebook on these outings, and jot down books to place on reserve at my library, or add to my birthday and holiday wish lists.
Bookstore shopping is a rare treat for me, a reward I give myself on occasion. Unfortunately, there are no longer any independent bookstores nearby…there are several very good ones in Ann Arbor, but that’s about a 45 minute drive. I love the small independent stores, with their personal atmosphere. But I’m perfectly happy to browse around in the “big box” stores as well. For us baby boomers, these big mega bookstores are quite a novelty ~there was nothing like them when I was growing up in the 60’s. So I enjoy seeing people gathering around, talking and meeting over books and coffee.
My local Barnes and Noble has an excellent selection, and they’re always most happy to help by ordering from another store. But I find myself purchasing fewer books these days, and often the books I wish to purchase aren’t published by the large houses, and so are only available on-line. As for the persuasive power of prominent displays – I think I’m rather immune to those. I tend to shy away from the big blockbusters on principal.
I used to spend a ton of money in the Borders in a nearby town. We’d head to the photo section and then the entertaining/tea section, and whatever craft or other project interested me. Then there were the etiquette books I collected and the compute how to manuals. I’d grab a big stack of whatever interested me and then I’d sit and thumb through them. One pile stayed, the other came home with me.
Then I found Amazon, where the prices are less and I can often see parts of the interior of the books online. And, when I search for a subject there is a HUGE selection and a lot of links to related items. It’s book HEAVEN. I can’t even begin to recall the by now hundreds of boxes that have shown up here bringing me books.
I always wonder about the people who never have a book or a magazine showing anywhere in their homes, or who have one small bookcase with only a few books. They sure do miss out on a lot.
I get overwhelmed by the choices. So last year I decided I’d be systematic and just browse the fiction section of the library alphabetically: choose an A author, then a B author. Well, it didn’t last long. First I decided it was okay to choose out of order. Then I decided it was okay to double up on authors whose last name began with the same letter. And finally, after about 3 or 4 books, I just chucked the whole thing and went back to chaos. There’s something to be said for that.
Wow! I’d love to be organized enough to remember a notebook when I hit the bookstore. I’ll have to give that a go.
For me, it’s usually shopping for something in particular or just browsing. I have so many unread books in my house that unless I need it, I can’t usually justify buying it. . . . or I try to get it from Bookmooch first.
I enjoy browsing but to save time I always have my list handy. I have a mind block when I’m looking at the shelves.
I don’t buy too many books at the bookstore, but man I love to browse. And buy a coffee if there is a coffee shop.