I like to ask this question sometimes, because it’s an important one.
This week I’m bouncing around a few bookstores — Doylestown Bookshop, WORD Bookstore, Joseph-Beth Booksellers — with some more appearances on the way, and every time I pop into a store like these I’m reminded about how awesome they are. Awesome first because they let me in the door. I mean, I wouldn’t let me in the door. I’d lock my ass out. So, right there, that’s a kindness I do not deserve. But also because these aren’t just WAREHOUSES OF SHELFSPACE for books. These are community harbors. These are havens for stories and authors and the fans and readers of those. Which means they are magical places.
That’s not to say every bookstore is awesome by dint of it being a bookstore. Some bookstores don’t get it. They don’t understand that surviving in this day and age doesn’t mean outselling or outcompeting Amazon but rather, providing things that Amazon will never provide (community, connection, real human interaction and recommendation, book love, book smell). Some bookstores still just want to sell you books and that’s it. And a lot of those stores, I find, aren’t friendly to authors — which isn’t the worst sin, since we authors are sort of weirdos. But some of these stores aren’t even friendly to readers. I was at a bookstore recently (which will remain unnamed) that seemed like it didn’t even want to sell books. The books were on high shelves, poorly arranged. The kids’ shelves were untouchable and visually inaccessible to actual children-height humans. It was a shame. (Contrast that to a local favorite, Let’s Play Books, which actually is a kids’ bookstore that wants kids to grab books and plop down and start reading.)
So, I want to ask you:
What are some of your favorite bookstores?
Locally or around the country? Hell, even around the world.
(In addition to the ones mentioned, special love must also go to Mysterious Galaxy and Poisoned Pen, both of which have treated me very well and are super awesome. And kudos, too, to Borderlands in SF for not only surviving, but kicking ass in the process.)
Shout ’em out. They give us book love. Let’s give them some bookstore love in return.