Where do you buy books?

Tom’s Used Books, Lodi California

Over at Internet Monk there was an interesting post about Christian Bookstores and this got me to thinking about bookstores in general, which is one of my favorite topics anyway. Bookstores are my all time favorite  hangouts. Recently I have re-discovered used bookstores. I love them! Some of them are musty, dusty, and cramped, and they sometimes have books piled on the floor. The reason I like them is that their inventory is always changing, you never really know what you are going to find, it’s a bit like a treasure hunt. When I go back home I go to Tom’s Used Books. He has been on School Street for about 25 years. There are usually a couple of cats roaming or laying around by the cash register, and the aisles are very narrow, and part of the floor feels like it’s sinking. I love it.

I can disappear for hours in the aisles of a bookstore. It is my happy place. I frequent the big guys, Barnes and Noble and Borders, but I love the independant bookstores that I feel are such an important part of our community. Many of  these are going away, regrettably, although there are a few still around if you look hard enough. One of my favorite movie bookstores is the one from “You’ve Got Mail.” If I had a fantasy job I would own that bookstore!

I have a dream of owning my own used bookstore. Everyone tells me this is a bad idea….not in this economy they say,  it would never work, what with Amazon and online sales, not to mention Kindle and Nook.(Of course I would have online sales in my store, too!) Anyway, it’s a dream I can’t escape. I frequently go there in my mind.
 It would be a little storefront building downtown within walking distance to everything. A little cottage would do nicely also. I already have a name picked out which I will not disclose here in case I actually do this someday…..I would sell used books with a Christian bent and also the classics, poetry, nature books, books on animals, children’s books and mysteries. It would be my store and I would market and sell what I want, not what someone else tells me I must sell. I would also sell coffees, teas, and have comfy chairs and little tables by the window for reading, sipping and dreaming. And lamps that cast warm light.
I would host a weekly Bible study that people could sign up for…..I might sell a few trinkets along with the coffee and tea but not many, and of course homemade cookies, muffins and scones. I would link up with local food banks and churches to let people know how they could help out in their community. I would sell books that instruct, edify, uplift, inspire and encourage. I do like happy endings, and I don’t apologize for it. I realize that in life many times there are no happy endings, that is why I like books that make me feel good at the end. 
I would have music, maybe some jazz or classical quietly in the background. At Christmas I would play the songs you don’t hear too often anymore…..”It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” It would be a peaceful place, a quiet escape from the noisy world around us that never ceases to clamor for our attention. A small stopping point in your day, a little cozy corner where you could come visit with your neighbor and pet a cat….yes, cats are a must have for my shop.
What do you think, would you come to my shop?
I am a bit afraid for the future of bookstores. I have shopped Amazon, I know it’s convenient and fast and easy, but it will never take the place of the little bookstore downtown where you can browse your Saturday away thinking of things you should be doing but putting off for just a while longer…….
What about you? Where do you buy books? What is your favorite bookstore hangout?
****Lolita disclaimer: I know this is primarily a Christian blog, but I noticed the copy of Lolita too late and didn’t have time to photoshop a Bible in place of it. It is the only picture of Tom’s I could find on the web! Thank you for having a sense of humor……

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