The Sunday Salon

We’ve started a new routine here on Sundays (if two weeks in a row count as a routine)…after church we treat ourselves to a nice lunch/brunch, and then escape the afternoon heat at our local cinema.  I’ve never been much of a movie-goer…especially not in recent years when i can enjoy the films in the comfort of my own living room on the 47 inch screen television. Part of my anathema to movies came from my general inability to sit still for more than an hour at a time without needing to get up and do something else.  But since I stopped working, I don’t feel quite the urgency to make productive use of my free time.  A benefit, I suppose, to having a lot more free time to work with.

Anyway, we had a few minutes between lunch and the movie today, so we stopped into our local Barnes and Noble store.  I hadn’t been there in a while, and was curious to see if anything had changed in the wake of Borders’ recent demise.

A few things definitely had.

The front left corner of the store, once dedicated to tables of newly released fiction and non-fiction titles, has now been given over to a line of free standing banner ads for the Nook, in all it’s incarnations.   This is actually just an extension of the Nook display that greets you the minute you open the door and occupies the entire front center section of the store.

The front-middle of the store is still books – shelves of bestsellers, trade paperbacks, bargain books, and other new releases.

The middle third of the store has given way to games and toys for children of all ages – including adults.  There are board games, high-quality  expensive educational toys for infants and toddlers, puzzles, and arts/crafts kits.  This all flows quite nicely into the children’s section, which hasn’t apparently changed too much. (whew!)

The last quarter of the store still houses the technical books, religion and new age section, along with an abbreviated corner for CD’s, DVD’s, and Blue Ray discs.

There were quite a few folks milling around on this hot Sunday afternoon, although most of them seemed to be sipping frozen drinks and sucking up the free wi-fi. When all was said and done, I got the impression the store was working very hard to stay viable in the current electronic literary market, and wasn’t quite sure how to go about doing that.

Next week I’ve planned a field trip for myself and friend to a semi-local (it’s about 30 miles away in Ann Arbor) independent bookstore.  I’ve got a couple of books on the radar to purchase, and I’d like to give Nicola’s some business, as well as see what they’ve got going on.

I’ll keep you posted.

What’s happening at the bookstores in your area? Do you have a favorite independent bookstore, and, if so,  how are they faring in these turbulent times for booksellers?


4 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon

  1. I really need to check out some independent bookstores. The convenience of Borders and Barnes & Nobles (they are each within minutes of my home) drew me there, I must admit.

    B & N was my favorite, because even before its demise, Borders began shrinking noticeably. There were times when I was greeted with empty shelves. This was long before we knew the stores were closing.

    But I still went there because of its proximity to the theater.

    It is so sad to think of bookstores in the throes of desperation. I know that there was once an indie bookstore in one of our quirkier neighborhoods…so your post has reminded me to check it out.


  2. B and N is pretty much the only bookstore in my town. It’s looked like how you describe it for a while now. I like it, but I’ve been pretty disappointed in the selection the last few times I’ve been in. I wish it wasn’t so hard to find a book that isn’t totally mainstream, which is what often sends me off to the online retailers.

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