Monday, May 15, 2006

Live Free Or... Shop At Barnes & Nobles?

Interesting article in Slate today about the importance or lack thereof of the "death" of the independent bookstore. I have to ruefully confess that I do most of my bookshopping, such as it is, at the Barnes and Noble 4 blocks from my apartment. But when I'm at my parents' home in the suburbs, I split my time between the chain store and the local book and record exchange, where I buy (and unload) most of my romance reading.

I haven't found a similarly great, romance-based used book store here in the city. Is there one? If any of our phantom readers knows of a great NYC store, holla, okay? As it is, I'm forced to unload the non-keepers on my unsuspecting – err, grateful friends.

For all Tyler Cowen's pooh-poohing of the importance of the indies, I think the fill an important function in genre fiction. While independent general bookstores have faded away, those focused on romance or mystery or children's writing still manage to persist. Perhaps it's because, with the tremendous volume of books published in each of those areas each month, let alone each year, readers value the guidance ofknowledgeablee owners who can steer them toward great newcomers and away from the duds.

Or maybe I'm crazy and those stores are all fading just as fast.

How about you? Where do you buy your books? What's your take on Indies vs. Chainies (Cheneys!)?

1 comment:

Kate D. said...

I think it's so sad that this post got passed over, what with all the Grey's Anatomy hooplah. It's fascinating to me the way that independent bookstores move and adapt... not just to the pressure of conglomerates like Barnes and Nobles, but online sellers like Amazon.

I'll be honest. I do most of my book shopping online; this is because the majority of my buying these days involves obscure titles for schooling purposes.

But where would I be without Lassley's Book Exchange? It's a Washington "baby chain" that deals completely in used paperbacks. Perfect for all my romance novel needs.