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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Libraries and Bookstores, Oh, My!!!

From My Shelf, Shelf Awareness for Readers, Volume 1, Issue 4, June 24, 2011

On Browsing

I hope no one will mind if I give a shout out to my very local indie bookstore, One More Page Books in Arlington, Va. I say "very local" because Eileen McGervey's new (launched in 2011) shop is less than a mile from my front door--I can even walk there via the W&OD Trail bike path.

But I'm not talking up One More Page to get you to shop there (although you would be very happy if you did). I want to talk about a quote I read recently in the delightful Pushcast Press compendium of quotations Book Love: A Celebration of Writers, Readers, and The Printed Bound Book, edited by James Charlton and Bill Henderson (who also wrote the introduction). Helene Hanff's quote is "I don't browse in bookshops. I browse in libraries, where you can take a book home and read it, and if you like it you go to a bookstore and buy it." It stopped me right in my tracks with its elegant logic.

I find Hanff's reasoning sound, but for me, browsing in a library is wholly different than browsing in a bookstore. In the library, things are catalogued and cross-referenced. Anyone who has ever worked on a research paper will know the feeling of sliding down an archival rabbit hole while digging out library material that leads you in all different directions, but are, happily, somehow connected.

In a bookstore, you may wind up running in different directions, but it won't always be because things are connected. Perhaps you spend an hour looking at the latest mysteries--then remember that you need to find a great book on wine for a Father's Day gift. Oh, and your book club chose that bestselling novel... hmmm, what's this? A new literary magazine?

Libraries and bookstores are both wonderful places to browse, and I prefer not to go without either one.--Bethanne Patrick

I'm bemused by this article.  I don't keep every book I read; I do keep a large number of them.  But I read so much that I'd run out of space quickly.  I couldn't possibly fit every book I read on a shelf in my house.  I am one of those B&N customers they love to hate:  I buy every week, usually more than one book at a time, but I also read others while I'm there, books I have no intention of buying or owning.  I would LOVE to support my local library more, but due to the usual constraints of budget and time, I can rarely get over there and they rarely have the books I want to read. 
I read all the time.  Most of what I read now is current and new.  At the library those books are already on reserve for other members.  I'm out of the publishing loop; I don't see as much as far in advance as I used to, so I'm into the immediate gratification of reading what I see when I want to read it and if that means I have to read it in the store, over a caramel macchiato, so be it.  It might also mean I pick up one or two or three books for the next few days, those that are by authors I LOVE, or stories I've been waiting to read...
For those of you who have been following my "I don't want an e-reader 'cause I love books" rants, hold onto your hats.
I'm going to have to cave and buy one, no idea which one, but I'll have to do so by October.  Harry Potter e-books will be available only from http://www.pottermore.com/ and all digital rights belong to JK Rowling.  Smart woman, that JK.  Bloomsbury and Scholastic will get proceeds from the sales, but her initial contract for HP1 didn't include digital rights for the publisher and subsequent contracts were identical.  Smart businesswoman or lucky duck?  Either way, she will be the primary beneficiary of all those e-book sales and yes, I will be buying each and every one for whichever reader is the best at the time they're released.
iPad?  Kindle?  Nook?  Not keen on the Kindle 'cause that means I can ONLY buy from Amazon.  Nook?  Not all that enthused about contributing to that whole monopoly thing (and I love indy bookstores!).  iPad?  Oh, I'm geeky enough to want one, but apparently there are a few more tablets coming out that I'll have to look into before I commit...  Will be discussing with my IT-savvy pals as October draws nearer...
I'll have to own whatever I need for the HP books but that's all I'll admit to right now!

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