Sunday, November 27, 2011

Brick and Mortar and Random Musing

Black Friday at Barnes and Noble
Sigh.  I miss my local Borders. I will try to transfer my affection to the B&N, but... I just don't like it as much.  I don't actually know what Borders did wrong; what buying or inventory or pricing practices drove them out of business, or if it was as simple as being too late to the e-selling game.  I hope that doesn't happen to Barnes and Noble.

But still... it's not the same. At Borders, you could find a terminal and look up a book yourself to see if it was in the store, or which section you could find it in, or search on a title to find the author, or search on the author to find the latest title.  At B&N, you have to ask a store worker to do that.  If you can find one (I grudgingly give them a pass for being busy on Black Friday).

At Borders, my pal Andrea made sure that my favorite authors' new releases were available on release day.  She called me to tell me when they arrived.  I realize that this isn't a Borders standard, and other Borders stores were not as good at the release day thing.  But B&N didn't have the new Ilona Andrews, or if they did, I couldn't find it, and I couldn't find someone to help me find it.  Boo.

On the Bright Side
I'm That Auntie, the one that gets you classics instead of the next Disney Fairy throw-away book.  I really love the B&N classics lines, for kids and adults (although I sort of wish the kids' ones were more standardized).  B&N kids' classics are nicely bound and illustrated and priced less than a mass market paperback-- I bought A Little Princess & The Time Machine for the independent younger readers, and Alice in Wonderland and Frankenstein from the adult series for the older readers.  (But I have a curmudgeonly wish that B&N would standardize their bindings and expand the line.)

In any event, I really want that brick and mortar buying experience.  I like browsing.  I like walking around in stacks of books, picking them up, flipping pages.  I actually want the excuse of leaving my house and going someplace else (preferably some place with coffee and chocolate).  I know I could solve the release-day thing by pre-ordering at Amazon, but sometimes my decisions change on the day-of. If it's a big release day, I might put off one author in favor of another.  I have to be a little budget-conscious, so I can't pre-order every release from every author I like. I waffle, and I kind of enjoy the waffling process-- I don't want it to be too automated.

I will probably get an e-reader sometime in the next year or so.  Maybe this year at Christmas.  There are enough of my favorite authors with early e-pub dates, and some intriguing titles that are e-pub only, that I guess it's unavoidable.  But I think I will have to keep making pilgrimages to whatever brick and mortar stores I can find, for the occasional tactile fix.  Whatever happens in the publishing and e-publishing industries in the next ten or twenty years, I expect I'll swing both ways.

8 comments:

Hoola Tallulah said...

Lovely to see you posting again, and boy do I wish I had an auntie like you!

Christine E. said...

Yay! A new post!

Both of the B&Ns near my house have search terminals where you can find out if a particular book is in that store. Perhaps you should lobby your local B&N to get with the program!

I mostly get my book fix via audiobooks these days, because I don't have as much time to sit down with a book as I used to, but I can still "read" while walking the dog, driving, or doing housework, so I get through lots more books that way. But I still love a nice long browse at a good brick-and-mortar store, and I love my Kindle for instant gratification and for never being without something good to read.

Kathryn said...

No other local bookstore could touch our Borders. It was next to my husband's favorite restaurant and made for a great combo outing (since we're both avid readers whose books overflow too many bookcases). Now when we eat there we just get depressed at the sight of the vacant store. Glad you found something at B & N - it seems half the floor space is devoted to toys and games anymore. Oh, for a good independent bookseller like we visit on the West Coast!

Carolyn Crane said...

I'm with you, swinging both ways. And, I miss my Borders, too. You had a great relationship with yours!

Susan Bennett said...

I have to confess I miss Borders too, even if they did behave badly. It's getting harder to find a place that stocks Moleskines and how I do love buying Moleskines.

Anonymous said...

I love following your blog and getting lots of alpha recommendations.

For Christmas, there is a brand new Kate Daniels novella featuring Kate and Curran available on Ilona Andrews website. It is only going to be free and available for 2 weeks. It is around 96 pages. It takes place after book 5, Magic Slays. She has it in a bunch of different formats, Adobe PDF, Kindle, Nook, and Adobe epub. It is going to be in print as a bonus extra at the end of Gunmetal Magic, Andrea's book in summer 2012. http://www.ilona-andrews.com/magic-gifts/ She asked her fans to spread the word to her other fans.

Anonymous said...

I pray that B&N does not shut down too. I love my kindle but I would miss the physical book store terribly.

-Renee'

Shannon said...

I love my Kindle and it has been a godsend when I have needed something new to read but was unable to get the the store. However, that said, I really love going into a store and browsing. I want to touch the books. I want to be able to buy picture books for my god daughter and my classroom. I don't want to order everything online. Coffee, books, and some down time. It is the experience that I miss.

Sadly, I now have to cross state lines to get to our nearest brick and mortar store (and pay a $12 toll over the bridge.) for someone whose favorite job as a teen was working at Crown Books, this breaks my heart.

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