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
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
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
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
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
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.
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!