I don’t care where people buy their books–indies or B&N or Half Price or online or Urban Outfitters or Target or the airport or your neighbor’s stoop–I just like it when people buy books. Yay, books!
With one exception: buy it where you found it.
If you discover a book in a bookstore, buy it there.
There have been a lot of trend pieces lately (and this article) about people using bookshops as showrooms–browsing the display tables and staff picks, then jotting down or taking pics of the titles to remember to buy them from an online retailer. I say: that sucks! Somebody working at that bookstore decided to stock the book, and liked it enough to put it out for you to find it. If you wouldn’t have known or thought to order it online without seeing it in the brick & mortar store, that store (and its helpful curators, the employees) deserves for you to buy the book there. Even if it costs a dollar or several more than online.
By the same measure: if you discover a title from an online giant’s email or newsletter or algorithm, great! Go ahead and buy it from them.
But a store is a store, not a showroom. It’s there to sell things and if it doesn’t, it will go away. Now that we have online retailers with no physical presence and mobile shopping apps up the wazoo, we have to protect the brick & mortar stores that help make our towns and neighborhoods vibrant places. Unless, of course, you want all the businesses around you to be banks and cell-phone stores. Nothing against them, but personally, I’d prefer a few bookshops in the mix.
Hear, hear! It made me sad to read quotes from indie booksellers saying they see so many people wandering their stacks with their smart phones out, buying books on Amazon WHILE IN THE STORE. That’s just so disrespectful.
I love my indie and I want it to stay there! Amazon doesn’t have a coffee shop or a fat lounging cat!
Well said, Rebecca! I mourn the loss of my Borders daily, and I love to visit my local new/used.
I cannot believe some people have the nerve to photograph books they want, then leave to buy or order elsewhere. That’s never even occurred to me, but even if it had, I would never behave so disrespectfully.
I second: Buy it where you discover it!
@Sarah: The first time I read those quotes I couldn’t believe that people had the nerve! And yeah–books, coffee, and cats should always be together.
@Katy: I work next to what once was a Borders, and sometimes I stare in the windows at once used to be full shelves. Total bummer. 🙁
This is just tacky. I hate to say, but we don’t have a bookstore in our town. A toystore and a museum near main street have a few children’s titles, but it’s not comprehensive.
I often shop online for convenience sake (but feel guilty about it).
@Katherine: Sometimes I still shop online, too! And feel a little guilty, but some titles I can’t get in a store easily. I’m not anti-online shopping, especially when store options are limited in an area.
Just seeing that Borders picture makes me sad. 🙁 This is such a great post…we can’t let the bookstores go away!
Thanks, Jessica! I heart my bookstores.
Me too! We’ve had too many close shop lately. Very sad.