Bookstore browsing vs. Second Day Delivery

Male customer in bookshopThis post is for book lovers.  You are the one with the in-home library or two.  Your shelves have your favorite books and a few you have yet to read. You wish you had more time to read.

Ask yourself, book lover, how did you get all of those books?  Where did you find them?  You might even ask yourself what attracted you to them in the first place?  It might be hard to answer that for all of those books in your collection.  If you are an older book lover you certainly warmly remember how wonderful it felt to find that special title in the quaint bookstore while visiting New England or maybe it was in California.  You are always attracted to such places, even while on vacation.  Each bookstore having a different size and shape with shelves to explore in that corner or wall with all those colors and covers.  There’s a collection unique in each such store.  Somehow a visit is like discovering a different treasure full of different gifts.  You anticipate buying at least one, maybe two.  When you finally leave, it is like you have tasted a unique blend with a personality all its own.  Nothing compares to browsing a bookstore, a new or favorite bookstore.

Then there are times when you need something now or very soon.  You are doing research and you need to know something. Maybe you need the background on a subject or a complete introduction, it has got to be more than just an Internet piece.  For efficiency you need a book, the complete biography, the complete picture that holds together between the covers of a book.  The Internet seems scattered, willy-nilly, just pieces of what you are lucky to find.  With the right book you feel assured you’ll get the complete story or at least one version of the complete story.  When you are finished reading, you’ll have something in hand to use.  With that thought you search Amazon for books on your selected subject.  You read reviews.  You narrow in on what looks like the best introduction or area of research already done for you.  So much for nonfiction.  There are other times when you just heard about a book, recommended by the Times or your best friend.  You want a copy for yourself.  You want to have and to hold it.  You decide to go online and order it.  Instantly it’s on your Kindle and ready to read or you’ll soon have it delivered to your door.  Almost always it is cheaper than anywhere else.  If you are a young reader this is how it is always done.  Now it is mine, all mine to read.

I honestly cannot say which is the best way to find a book to love and read.  Because of my age, I have a fondness for bookstores and love to browse them.  I can tell you I’ve found bookstores can meet my urgency to have something to hold.  There’s something comforting in holding a paperback, scribbling in the margins, and seeing the book on my shelf.  When giving a book as a gift, I have enjoyed reading a shelf and taking a book down to thumb through its pages.  For my nephew, I was glad to have been in a bookstore to select his gift.  The award-winning children’s book I thought would be nice had wonderful illustrations page after page, but few words.  It wouldn’t do for him.  He was learning to read.  For my mom, who was new to scrapbooking, I found Amazon full of great titles and reviews by more experienced scrap-bookers.  Used copies were to be had for her particular hobby.

One thing is certain for me though.  I don’t want bookstores to disappear.  I remember the sadness I felt when the neighborhood Borders Bookstore closed its doors.  I heard another patron say he visited the neighborhood store every week.  It was inside that store I found many treasures to bring home: a collection of poetry, a new biography, my first Manga title.  There were times when Borders replaced a decent record store of the past, having a rare CD I couldn’t find anywhere else in all of Chicago on that day.  It was at Borders where I heard Caroline Kennedy speak about her family exchanging poems as gifts at Christmas time and graciously signing copies of her latest collection.   It was a place I could go to when I felt the urge or the need to read something new.  Someone had consciously stocked the shelves knowing what a curious reader might want to read.  It was a book on a shelf I didn’t even know I would find.  I hope to always have a chance to browse those wonderful shelves.



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