If you answer with something that ends with “dot-com,” I understand. With so many titles to buy, it's tempting to save a few dollars. I've done so often. But savings comes at a price.
This past weekend I got a fresh reminder of the worth of a real, independent bookstore. My wife and I drove an hour to a signing by a favorite author.
I'd never visited this store, but I found it instantly welcoming. Near the front door was a display stacked with copies of the latest release, plus previous titles. While we waited for the event to begin, we took turns browsing.
At the information desk, a bookseller was happy to answer questions. She even walked me halfway across the store to make sure I found the right section. All the while, I kept being distracted by the face-out titles. Not at all like searching and clicking online.
As we waited, the air was filled with readers talking about books – titles by the evening's author and others. Recommendations flew back and forth. Like social media without the media.
I came home with a newly signed hardcover, a few signed back copies, and a determination to visit again, the next time I was in the area.
I hope you have your own favorite local booksellers. And if you're looking for a store while on the road, here's a link to the Better Places to Buy Books database, compiled by Kate Brittain and featuring information on more than 2,000 independent bookstores in the U.S.