Sunday, November 27, 2011
Brick and Mortar and Random Musing
Sigh. I miss my local Borders. I will try to transfer my affection to the B&N, but... I just don't like it as much. I don't actually know what Borders did wrong; what buying or inventory or pricing practices drove them out of business, or if it was as simple as being too late to the e-selling game. I hope that doesn't happen to Barnes and Noble.
But still... it's not the same. At Borders, you could find a terminal and look up a book yourself to see if it was in the store, or which section you could find it in, or search on a title to find the author, or search on the author to find the latest title. At B&N, you have to ask a store worker to do that. If you can find one (I grudgingly give them a pass for being busy on Black Friday).
At Borders, my pal Andrea made sure that my favorite authors' new releases were available on release day. She called me to tell me when they arrived. I realize that this isn't a Borders standard, and other Borders stores were not as good at the release day thing. But B&N didn't have the new Ilona Andrews, or if they did, I couldn't find it, and I couldn't find someone to help me find it. Boo.
On the Bright Side
I'm That Auntie, the one that gets you classics instead of the next Disney Fairy throw-away book. I really love the B&N classics lines, for kids and adults (although I sort of wish the kids' ones were more standardized). B&N kids' classics are nicely bound and illustrated and priced less than a mass market paperback-- I bought A Little Princess & The Time Machine for the independent younger readers, and Alice in Wonderland and Frankenstein from the adult series for the older readers. (But I have a curmudgeonly wish that B&N would standardize their bindings and expand the line.)
In any event, I really want that brick and mortar buying experience. I like browsing. I like walking around in stacks of books, picking them up, flipping pages. I actually want the excuse of leaving my house and going someplace else (preferably some place with coffee and chocolate). I know I could solve the release-day thing by pre-ordering at Amazon, but sometimes my decisions change on the day-of. If it's a big release day, I might put off one author in favor of another. I have to be a little budget-conscious, so I can't pre-order every release from every author I like. I waffle, and I kind of enjoy the waffling process-- I don't want it to be too automated.
I will probably get an e-reader sometime in the next year or so. Maybe this year at Christmas. There are enough of my favorite authors with early e-pub dates, and some intriguing titles that are e-pub only, that I guess it's unavoidable. But I think I will have to keep making pilgrimages to whatever brick and mortar stores I can find, for the occasional tactile fix. Whatever happens in the publishing and e-publishing industries in the next ten or twenty years, I expect I'll swing both ways.