Musing Mondays: Bookstores


How do you choose what to buy from your local bookstore? Do you have a list, or just browse? What is the selection in your book store like? Do you find what you’re looking for? Do you feel pressured to buy the kind of books the store makes prominent?

I do both, although I have a tendency to forget the list. Although I often recall the names and authors of some books on my list, it is usually long enough and my memory bad enough to make me wish I had the list. As a result, I always make sure to have a list in my billfold whenever I’m traveling somewhere I might have the opportunity to visit a bookstore.

Even if I have the list with me, I will invariably browse. In fact, when I visit a bookstore in another city, I always browse for a while before I pull out the list. I do that because I may well come across something that yells out at me, “Take me home! Take me home!” At times, that cry is loud enough to drown out the books on my list.

While I admit I frequent the chain bookstore in town rather than an independent, it does have the advantage of a good selection. As might be expected, it tends toward the mass market but you can usually fine one or two copies of books that might otherwise fly under the mass consumption radar. I never feel pressured to buy the books on prominent display. I might learn of a book through a display but only its subject and content will lead me to buy it, not the fact the bookstore is pushing it.

If a book is worth reading, it is worth buying.

John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies

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