My love of bookstores blossomed into full romance when my hometown finally got a Barnes & Noble. It had lines for weeks, probably months! It was bright and pretty inside, and everything was new and shiny. They had books that had just been released, and the whole huge building added on to the front of our mall was full of shelves of books. It was heaven. Move over fancy new Old Navy (back when we thought polar fleece vests were awesome), I want to get to B&N!
…Wait, are polar fleece vests awesome again? I might be behind the times.
What I learned from Barnes & Noble was the vast quantity of books that I could now take home and own forever. I could sit and read travel books, children’s books, novels, manga…they had everything. I also learned that sale books were my Achilles heel. Oh, is this copy of Pride and Prejudice with a pretty cover on sale? I know I already own three copies of it…but what the heck! It’s on sale. My current bookshelves still strain under the weight of impulse sale purchases from B&N, though I finally got rid of a billion cooking and crafting books I got there. I have given up on ever baking bread from scratch or learning how to weave. Instead I bought a bread maker machine and purchase stuff other people have already woven. If at first you don’t succeed, try again and again until you decide it’s totally not worth it and give up.
(Also, I googled it and it seems that polar fleece vests are no longer in style…but are still widely available for purchase. Now we know. You’re welcome!)
Beyond simply carrying the most books I had seen, since my child eyes swore it was bigger than our library, B&N also introduced me to book-themed gifts. They had cool mugs, and tote bags, cute reading glasses, bookends, and many colorful bookmarks to choose from. It was hard for me to choose what to actually purchase and take home. Oh yeah, and they also sold board games! My family still loves board games, and I remember purchasing several of them at Barnes & Noble.
When I hit 16 I applied to work at Barnes & Noble, and never even got a phone call back.
I don’t know why they didn’t contact a 16 year old with zero work experience and a 3-page resume (they legit had us create giant resumes in class, and mine was full of baby-sitting and church stuff. Not really a turn on for future employers. And it was 3 PAGES LONG! Oh, the shame.) I still continued to shop there while I lived in the Tri-Cities, and when I was going to college our bookstore was in partnership with Barnes & Noble somehow, so it was the world’s tiniest B&N.
Years later I ventured to the Tanasbourne Barnes & Noble to purchase an audio book for a solo roadtrip. A wise sales associate told me if I wanted to stay awake but not have to think a lot, I would be better off buying Angels & Demons than Eat, Pray, Love. The only con to my foray into audio books was my car only took one CD at a time, and that book had ALL the CDs, which ended at inopportune times when I was unable to switch to a new CD. Sadly, I have yet to give audiobooks another go.
Now that I’m older and wiser I traditionally visit Powell’s first because it’s super close to where I live and it’s amazing.
However, when I’m carpooling with my spouse one of us will often wait for the other at Barnes & Noble. With a Starbucks attached to it, and with those shelves still full of sale books, I will probably never stop enjoying Barnes & Noble. I really like when they release classic works of literature in new covers. Since I wholly acknowledge often judging books by their covers, these releases have pushed me to read classic books that I would never have read otherwise.
B&N is a great national bookselling chain that has more than just books and seems to still be going strong.
They have survived where others (cough Borders cough) have not, and they will hopefully continue to survive.
I love local businesses, and I also love B&N. I can love both, right?