Feb 2, 2009

Musing Mondays: Book Buying

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book stores…
How do you choose what do buy from your local bookstore? Do you have a list, or just browse? What is the selection in your book store like? Do you find what you're looking for? Do you feel pressured to buy the kind of books the store makes prominent? (question courtesy of

I live in a small town, even though it is growing by leaps and bounds, there still is not a lot to choose from in the way of booksellers. Of course, we have the big stores, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million, but the small independant stores are practically non-existant. This limits my book buying options. There is a used book store I go to, but they don't carry any new books. There is another one that opened up recently ,but I haven't checked it out yet. I intend to do that very soon.

Nowadays, I'm more of a list person than a browser when I visit a bookstore. The main reason is that someone has to drive me and I feel funny taking up their time while I browse, so I make sure I know what I want, I get it and then we leave. I would love to be able to just browse. When I was married, my husband and I would go hang out at the bookstore for an hour or so on a weekend evening. I always enjoyed that.

For the most part, I'm usually pretty satisfied when looking for a book in the store. Since most of the time I go to one of the bigger named stores, they usually have what I'm looking for. If it's an older book I'm after and especially a classic, I always check my used bookstore first. I've had really good luck there. I remember last year looking for a used copy of GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen and the lady that works there told me they had just sold the only copy, but she offered to put my name on a list for the next one that came in. I really didn't hold out a lot of hope that it would happen anytime soon. But low and behold, two days later I got a call saying they had just gotten one in and it was mine if I wanted it! I was thrilled! I called my friend and she drove me over immediately! (I very much wanted to read that book!)

I don't feel pressure of any kind to buy the books the bookstore displays prominently as you come in the doors. Naturally, they're going to display the NYT Bestsellers, but that's typically not what I'm looking for. I read a lot of debut authors and books that have been out awhile, so they're further back in the store. The stores certainly don't dictate what I'm going to read.

I've made a decision to utilize my public library more this year, mainly because of the economy and also because I'm hoping to read some classics and they will definitely have them there. I will at the same time, however, keep my eye out for them at the used book store for my home library.

Well, I certainly didn't intend for this to be such a long response, but I think I've answered all the questions posed. If you'd like to participate or read other responses to today's musing, click here to go to Rebecca's Just One More Page, our host for this weekly event.


  1. I'm definitely a list person, easier and less confusing.

    Happy Monday!

  2. Wish I lived near you...I would be happy to drive you and browse while you did.

    I do a lot of reading about books online and then decide what I want to read. My library system has a great feature...I can keep a list of up to 100 books which I want to read. Then when I am ready, I just reserve a book from that list.

    I have two great indie bookstores at the beach, but none nearby in PA. There is one great indie store about 20 miles away and shame on me for not going there more often. It is 38,000 square feet of heaven! Includes a cafe with delicious food. I could stay from morning until night.

  3. I make lists and then promptly forget to follow them when I see all the great choices on the shelves!

  4. Great post Lisa. The bookstore I frequent is really good about bringing in a book if you want it too-they're very friendly. I'm trying to use the library more but I have so many books to read that I get the library books and end up taking them back. Errrrrrg.

  5. Robin - I agree. Lists are especially helpful when in a hurry.

    JoAnn - Aaawww, that was sweet of you to say. I wish more of my friends were readers. I browse alot online too.

    Beth - That's funny.

    Dar - Thanks - I know what you mean about the library. I've had to return books that I hadn't finished reading. I only check out one or two at a time because of that. I'm planning to have someone drop me off one Saturday morning and leave me there so I can just browse to my hearts content. And when I'm done, I'll call them to come and get me. I could stay all day!

  6. Lately when I go in for a specific book, the store never has it, so I end up buying something else. It's okay, because I do love to browse.


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