Where Do You Buy Your Books?

Today’s off the cuff stream of consciousness post is inspired by The Quintessential Editor’s rant against Barnes and Noble.

My last post notwithstanding, this blog is first and foremost dedicated to the joys of reading. The aforementioned link, coupled with the fact that my next book review will feature a book on the detrimental effects of technology on the quality of modern life, set my wheels to turning on the subject of not only what we read, but how we acquire the material we read.

Unlike the QE, I am not particularly offended by Barnes and Noble, but it is certainly not my first choice when I am looking for a book. I am extremely partial to the public library as a place to find books I seek and books to stumble upon and take home, without the commitment of wasting the money my Benevolent Dictator works so hard to provide. Books can be a heavy investment when you read as much as we do around here.

I have come to realize, since starting this blog has facilitated discussions with other bibliophiles in other parts of the country, that we are quite fortunate with regard to the number of branches and services our public library provides. It is at least worth the taxes we pay, my thoughts on the principle of property taxes not withstanding.  Not everyone is so blessed however, and a lot of people spend a small fortune on books because it is the most efficient way to get their hands on what they want when they want it.

I buy the occasional book as well, and when I do, I almost always buy it from a small independent book store. My first choice is a local used bookstore in my area which will graciously taken in titles from my home library which I no longer want, and generously offer me credit for those toward books in the store that I wish to buy. It’s a win win!

The atmosphere in a used bookstore is kind of exhilarating. I like not quite knowing exactly where something is, as it affords me the opportunity to discover hidden gems or even titles I forgot I wanted to read until I saw them there. There is always some attempt at categorization, even in the used bookstore, but it’s ragtag just enough to feel authentic. I can easily find myself spending an hour longer than the amount of time I budgeted to browse the shelves.

These days however, we are not limited to Barnes and Nobles, quaint independent bookstores, or even the local public library. I mentioned earlier the effect of technology on modern life and one of the most universal ways this is seen is in the way we read. Kindles, Nooks,  computers, and tablets have become the preferred way of reading for most today. You can load hundreds of books on one device, and take your reading with you wherever you go.

I own a Kindle, but I only use it to  read about 1/4 of all the books I read. I can even download titles from the library onto it, but I can’t seem to shake my desire to feel the paper in my hands, bookmark an actual page to return to later, and experience the sensation of turning the pages of a book. All of this randomness is actually leading up to a question for you all:

Where do you buy most of your books, and are you more likely to read electronically, or old school like me?