Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Changes at the Book Store

Yesterday we got up to chill and rain, but had to go to Springfield for DH’s routine checkup and labs. We headed out early so blood work would be done in time for the afternoon appointment. Got there only to find the doctor had not left orders for this routine work that is done EVERY six months. The office nurses and aides couldn’t order it. So off we went to kill hours we could have been reading over the tea pot listening to the rain.

The rain did clear as we accomplished numerous stops, some hunting for Mexican Petunias that I know are in abundance in St. Louis. Springfield has not heard of them. Then an early lunch at Zio’s, yum-greatest Chicken Piccata ever, before making our traditional stop in at Barnes and Noble. The last time there, the Nook had garnered a chunk of the store space. This visit was a total shock, however. The whole store was NOT my Barnes and Noble, starting with a less than full parking lot which never happens.  The entire service desk was gone inside and replaced with a larger circle of entirely Nook stands and displays. Empty too I might add except for the lonely salesman standing in there waiting for a customer. The service people had been replaced by computers stationed among the books where readers were expected look up a book themselves, maybe answer their own questions.  

My bio section was gone, shoved to a far side I almost never found. A toy, games and arts & crafts section had been added and music was gone.  The front tables that usually held the newest or seasonal selections were still there, but they seemed to me to hold boring books. A third of the store was remainders. The poetry section was not only moved but was divided by a three foot section of misplaced books not belonging there. My place of refuge, of peaceful meandering through volumes quietly enticing me to slip in between their covers had turned into a carnival midway of noisy, cheap appearances. Readers, if you think I am overly dramatic you might be correct, but I DO take my books and book life seriously.

Now for confession time, I recently bought a Kindle. Yes, I know, that makes me part of the problem. But I fought it and ranted against it until I knew I was meeting my book Waterloo. I had to at least dip into this new way or be left entirely behind. But that doesn’t mean I like it! Oh, reading an e-Book is not all bad, and I do think they have their place. But for me, I have to be careful and still need paper because for one thing I go to sleep reading and often drop a book. I can’t do this with an expensive piece of equipment!

There are many reasons to still love paper books and others have championed them better than I. But yesterday I thought how I love being in a book store because while I choose a book due to subject, title, and author, I also choose one due to the color of the jacket, the feel of the paper, the colors I hold in my hand. I have been known to buy a book based on how it feels as much as anything. You can’t feel a book in advance on an e-reader.

Also there are so many books out there, how do I know what I want until I SEE them? I saw several yesterday that I had no idea existed and wanted them. I folded on buying only one. I never would have ordered it because I did not know about it. Hiroshima in the Morning, a memoir was a National Book Critic Award Finalist. I did not know that; I only knew the dark and sinister spine (when usually it is a primary or pastel color or maybe gilding that interests me) caught my eye in the row of biographies, that the title drew me in to check out the pages, that the paper smelled fresh and tantalizing, and that I would give it a try—if I dropped this one on the ride home, it wouldn’t break. Maybe it won’t be a favorite read or maybe it will, but the real story is I would not have considered it had I not been in a book store to touch it.

So, do you have an e-reader and if so, how do you like it?


Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Sorry your bookstore moved things around on you. That annoys me, too...our grocery does it all the time and I am forever having to re-learn the placement of things! I do have a Kindle, given to me as a Christmas gift a few years ago. I read it sometimes, but honestly, I'd rather have a real book in my hands. The weight, texture, can't be beat.

Linda O'Connell said...

I went o my local B&N and it was gone! I prefer a book to a Nook or Kindle. Sorry about the doctor mix up. That has happened to my hubby, too.

Susan said...

Hello Claudia....The description of Barnes and Noble sounded awful, awful. What are we to do if we lose our beloved bookstores? What?

No, I do not have an e-reader. Only if somebody gives one to me as a gift will I have one. I LOVE books, Claudia. They are my friends. I cherish them. Susan

Grandma Swift said...

Not the B&N! I too love that store and want to touch the paper. As silly as it sounds, I recently bought a copy of Grapes of Wrath based on the paper. There were several editions, and the ragged edges of the one really appealed to me. It had heft and felt right.I can't browse for books online; I have to walk the aisles.

Jenny said...

No e-reader. I'll do it someday soon.

I'm glad you got some yummy chicken to make up for that doctors confusion.