What is a “bookstore”?

April 10, 2012 General 14

I love my Kindle.  I really do.  Every night I sleep with my Kindle on one side of me (on the nightstand) and my husband on the other side of me.  Now, I didn’t always feel this way.  I was one of those people who fought the move towards ebooks tooth and nail.  I love the weight of a book, turning its pages, the beautiful cover art, using bookmarks and all the wonderful things that go with the act of reading.  There was no way I was going to give that up for a piece of electronics. Then one Christmas my husband, who was tired of the clutter of books around our house, gifted me a Kindle.  You see, he knew deep down inside I actually wanted one.  That’s why we are married.  He knows me too well.  He knew that the geek in me wanted to try the new gadget and was intrigued by the idea of carrying hundreds of books in one tiny apparatus.  And so began my sipping of the Kindle KoolAid.

 

The one thing I could not give up, however,  was the bookstore.  I love me a bookstore.  And I actually still buy bound books.  Books I want to collect or that have incredible photos, etc are books that I don’t buy for my Kindle.  So lets say I live between two worlds – the Kindle world and the world of the bookstore.

 

What makes me sad is that I think the bookstore is going to be a thing of the past.  As more people move towards eReaders, what place does the physical location of the bookstore have in our reading lives?  And will future generations even know what a bookstore is other than a place to read magazines and study in the attached cafe?  My husband had an intern who admitted to having never stepped into a library.  This intern is in college and does all of his research online.  This not only saddens me but depresses me.  So as the library slowly fades in relevance (for some) and bookstores are closing down left and right…will reading become an elite hobby?  Will only those people who can afford eReaders be able to obtain books?  While you think about that, let’s take a moment to celebrate the bookstore.  Let me write this post so that my great-great-great grandchildren can read it when they start to wonder at the old-fashioned quaintness of the “bookstore.”

 

Here is a small list of my favorite bookstores.  Now, I’ve had a pretty nomadic life until recently.  Having lived in several states in the US and several countries overseas, I always manage to locate the local bookstore and call it home.  If you are ever in these cities, check out these stores.  You’ll love them.

 

THE STRAND – NEW YORK CITY

http://www.strandbooks.com/

This is one of the best bookstores ever.  Ever.  They have a huge collection of both new and used books.  You can also get half off copies of hardback recent releases in the lower level of the store.

 

BORDERLANDS BOOKS – SAN FRANCISCO

http://www.borderlands-books.com/

Oh, Borderlands…how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  Borderlands specializes in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.  Enough said.  They have both new and used books.  The staff is knowledgable and friendly. It is a genre reader’s paradise.

 

GREEN APPLE BOOKS – SAN FRANCISCO

http://www.greenapplebooks.com/

This is by far my favorite used bookstore.  I think it is pretty much a SF institution.  Whenever I am there, I drop by and see what they have in stock.  There are two stores pretty much right next to each other.  One has new books, children’s books, history, poetry, remainders, and other non-fiction fare.  The store two doors down sells magazines, DVDs and music, general fiction, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy.

 

FRIENDS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY – ROCKVILLE, MD

http://www.folmc.org/bookstores/locations/

Ok, this might seem like a weird one to add because it is not  a bookstore in the traditional sense.  This store is actually a place where people can donate their books and the store sells them to the public.  Proceeds are then put back into the maintenance of the Montgomery County Public Library system.  And I love this store.  When I am in the area, I always stop by to check out what they’ve gotten in stock.  Some trips have produced recent releases for $3 each.  Oh, and one thing I love more than a good book is a good deal.  There are several locations but I like this one the best.

 

POLITICS AND PROSE – WASHINGTON DC

http://www.politics-prose.com/

It’s been a while since I’ve visited Politics and Prose but back in the day, it was my joint.  They have a fantastic selection of books, a beyond knowledgeable staff that will find and order anything for you, and a fantastic remainders section.  And the cafe is good too.

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Seriously, tell me your favorite local bookstore because you never know when I’ll be in the area and I would love to check it out!

Happy Reading!

14 Responses to “What is a “bookstore”?”

    • shewolfreads

      Thanks so much for the comment and the suggestion! The Strand is incredible! If I am in NYC, I always make a pilgrimage there and come away with some real finds.

      I love bookstores and libraries. It makes me sad to see them losing ground. And I will seriously put your suggested store as one to visit if passing through the area!

  1. Jen D.

    I can totally relate to this post. From the being dragged into the e-book revolution to the love of bookstores and all things book related. One of my favorite book stores is Books & Books in Miami. It’s quaint and cozy and does an amazing job with author events.

    • shewolfreads

      Jen, it was a hard transition to make! There was a part of me that felt like a sell out for loving my Kindle but I can’t help it! 🙂 It is just sad to see libraries and bookstores losing ground. Thanks so much for the suggestion. In fact, there is a very real possibility I may be in Miami at some point this year and if I am, I will definitely be checking out Books & Books! Thanks for visiting!

      • Jen D.

        LOL! Me too! It felt especially traitorous when I was reading on the couch and would momentarily look up and see my books glaring at me. Okay maybe they weren’t but it felt like they were.

        You’re very welcome! If the trip becomes a for sure thing hit me up and I’ll be happy to meet up with you to show you around the store. =)

      • shewolfreads

        Yes, I do think my books glare at me when I read with my Kindle. Perfect description! Will definitely hit you up if I am in the area. It may be a few months down the road but I totally appreciate the offer and I will remember it! 🙂

  2. Steph (@FABR_Steph)

    Fantastic post! I use my Fire all the time, every day in fact, for review copies. I purchase printed books for all finished copies other than the occasional freeby. I would be so sad if I couldn’t walk into the bookstore and get a good whiff of freshly printed books and coffee. I love visiting the bookstore. I have discovered some of the best reads just from browsing. An eReader could never replace that experience for me.

    • shewolfreads

      Visiting the bookstore is a necessity! Makes me sad to see so many shutting their doors. But you’re right…I’ve found a lot of new reads just from browsing the shelves or looking at staff recommendations. It’s hard though because I think a lot of bookstores are becoming just that…places to browse. People go in, look at the cool covers, read some pages and then go home and order it for their Kindle. B&N has the Nook and so it’s been able to avoid some of that. Smaller stores aren’t so lucky. And I admit to being totally guilty of that sometimes though I try to balance it with the occasional hard copy purchase which drives my husband insane because he thinks I have too many books. Hey, at least its not an expensive habit like designer clothes and diamonds. He got lucky!

  3. Felicia the Geeky Blogger

    I would say in the DFW area it has to be A Real Bookstore (http://www.arealbookstore.com/) I am not saying this because they have wine and kitchen demos. Ok I might be saying it because they have wine and Kitchen demos 🙂

    They pretty much rock!

    Though I do love my Kindle and buy most of my books on there. I buy other things at the bookstore when I go 🙂

  4. fishgirl182

    i love my kindle, too, but nothing replaces the bookstore. i love just going and browsing and getting lost. used book stores are awesome, too. i have never been to borderlands but i love green apple. seriously i wish there were more bookstores in the world. they make me happy.

    • shewolfreads

      Green Apple is great. One of my all time favorite stores. I always find something there! And bookstores make me happy. Nothing to do on a Saturday? I go to the bookstore!