I have never been one of those girls that loves to go shopping. Going to the mall is synonymous with headaches and bad pop remixes rather than a great way to spend the day. I like having new clothes, but I don’t really enjoy the process of finding clothes to buy.
But bookstores–I love bookstores. I could spend hours in a bookstore, finding new books to read.
But nowadays there are a lot of places you can go to buy books. So I decided to take a little while and discuss the various merits of the different types of bookstores. Keep in mind that unless I say otherwise, I’m just talking about the YA sections of these book stores.
Big Commercial Bookstores (eg Barnes and Noble)
At first glance, these seem like the best place to go for book shopping. They usually have a wide selection and lots of new releases, and (at least for me) there are a lot of locations nearby other places I might find myself, making it easier to pop in and get something new to read.
My only problem with this type of book store is that they just feel…commercial. I’ve never been one to read really popular books, and these bookstores seem to specialize in “popular” books. (I’m not trying to be a hipster, it’s just that they never seem to be as good as people say they are.) Also, it just feels like more of the books I see at stores like Barnes and Noble have cliche and overdone plots than I do at smaller, local book sellers. I go to bookstores to find new books, not to have books with covers (or plots) that I’ve seen everywhere already.
Smaller, Local Bookstores
There are two great local bookstores in my area. Both of them are smaller than the massive Barnes and Nobles I go to, which means they have a smaller selection, especially of YA books. One of them is actually a children’s book store, though by now they sell books for all age ranges. They have less turnover than the larger book stores, but their selection also tends to lack the plasticy-corporate feeling that bigger stores suffer from. I love the atmosphere in these smaller bookstores–it really feels like the employees know their store and love books–but the smaller selection can be annoying when I’m dying to read something super new.
Honestly, I end up ordering most of my books off of Amazon. This is mainly because I have been given so many Amazon gift cards in my lifetime that I don’t actually pay for books out-of-pocket anymore. However, I hate trying to find books to read from Amazon. Their “recommended” section invariably contains books I’ve already read (ones that I ordered from amazon…you’d think they could update their programming) or books that (like the ones from Barnes an Noble) just look to cliche or overly dramatic for me to ever read. Generally, if I buy a book off of Amazon, it is a sequel to a book I already own, or it is a book that I saw in a store but didn’t have money to buy it with in person. Shipping isn’t really an issue with Amazon because I have Amazon Prime, and sometimes if I preorder books, I’ll actually get them a day before they come out, which is cool. Still, as a way of finding new books to read, Amazon is probably the worst.
Used Book Stores
I actually got the idea for writing this post when I went to a Used/Vintage book store last weekend. I love the atmosphere of used book stores, but I find myself being a very different type of reader when I go into them. For instance, last weekend, I walked out of the store with a nonfiction book on Napoleon invading Egypt, a copy of Bullfinch’s myths and tales, and a book about ancient Egypt. It’s not that I am not going to read these books–I definitely am–it’s just that I would not have bought them from any other type of bookseller. Since used book stores generally don’t have a YA section (or if you’re like me and you just manage to not see the part of the store that has paperbacks until you’ve paid and you’re leaving), I usually end up buying historical nonfiction books. I like that these stores push me to buy different books, but in terms of places I’ll go looking if I need something light to read for fun, used bookstores are not for me.
What about you? Where do you buy your books? Do you agree with what I’ve said about each type of bookstore?