This is the story of my bookstore and me, once upon a summer. A reflection on buying books and its plethora of options.

 

Buying a book. It used to be so easy. Go to bookstore; buy book; read.

 

Today, a litany of questions must be answered before such a purchase. Which seller has the lowest price? Should I get a bookbook, ebook, or audiobook? Which format would I most likely read/listen to? What if I wanted to return to certain sections? Are there coupons or cash back incentives?

 

Then, there’s the moral question: Which seller should get my money? What cause should my purchase champion? I love bookstores, so should I buy books there or from their online competitors? Ethics overload!

 

I love these articles from The New Yorker on books and bookstores:

 

When a Bookstore Closes, an Argument Ends

 

A Book Buyer’s Lament

 

When it comes to book providers, I’m noncommittal. I usually decide based on economics (Amazonia!), but a tug of guilt persists whenever I visit a bookstore.

 

Since I get half-day Fridays during the summer in exchange for longer Mondays to Thursdays, I get to spend quality me-time at a local Barnes & Noble. Well, of course the tug pulls stronger. I love bookstores. I will sob if our society loses them entirely.

 

Inspiration happens when so many books are around. And what about that luxury of handling new books and reading their introductions before saying Yes to ownership.

 

Also, being in a bookstore inspires me to write.

 

Anticipating that this will eat my spare time, I became a Barnes & Noble member, partly for the discount, partly to alleviate the guilt. Besides, I’ve had pretty good luck with their bargain section lately, finding books on my list majorly discounted, beating online prices altogether. I also heard that some locations would hold read-a-thons when Harper Lee’s upcoming Go Set A Watchman hits the shelves. I’d be game for that!

 

So that’s how my blissful Friday hours will be spent. Here’s to my new patronage!

 

How do you find communities of readers in your local area?

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